In defense of Reptar: an album review of Body Faucet

reptar

Something must have been in the water in 2012 – it was a year of magical events. Not only did Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson patch things up (to a collective sigh of relief from humanity, their faith in true love restored) but, even more importantly, two phenomenal albums were dropped in 2012; one to great acclaim, and one to not such great acclaim.

Django Django and Reptar both dropped their debut albums in 2012. Django Django’s self titled album was released in January to rave reviews – Reptar’s body faucet was dropped in May to less than rave reviews – to give a general idea, Django Django recived a 7.2 from Pitchfork. Reptar? A 3.0.

So why the 4.2 point difference in their marks? Reptar sampled too liberally from contemporaries – Animal Collective, Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend. They had too much enthusiasm and not enough focus. Boiled down to it, Reptar was deemed to be too much sugar for your diet without the necessary fiber to make it worth consumption – kind of like chewy granola bars.

And I don’t declaim the first two points – Reptar samples liberally from other artists on their album, yes, and their enthusiasm is nothing if not unbridled. But depending on how you spin it, couldn’t those also be points of praise?

From the moment the beat drops on Sebastian to the last meandering a capella chorus of City of Habits, Reptar has crafted themselves, what I would argue to be, an eclectic and adventurous first album filled with, true, sugary-sweet afro-beats and synth that unabashedly points to its audience and says, “you! Get up and dance!” but also with thoughtful lyrics and a detailed eye for rhythm and instrumentation that belies their reputation as nothing more than a good time live.

The foundation of the record rests on Water Runs, an unconventional ode to relationships, some newly beginning and others falling apart at the seams, Sebastian, a wink to the saint who became a gay icon, and office origami which tips its hat to themes of dreams, nightmares and creativity. Without these three staples the album might not hold up under the sugary sweet goodness of sweet sipping soda and houseboat babies. But these two fine spun confections are necessary counterparts to the more experimental and bizarre Natural Bridge. While some have argued that this album is a hodge-podge mess of dance beats and enthusiasm, I would argue it’s actually a very well balanced and organized creation that takes into consideration not only the recorded listening experience but also the live one. Not an easy task.

I began by comparing Reptar to Django Django not only because their albums dropped in the same year and I’ve had them both on repeat for the past two months, but also because I see parallels between the two albums. When I listen to Django Django I hear a modern twist on Simon and Garfunkel and the Beach Boys, with maybe even a wink to Daft Punk at the end of Waveforms. Both bands sample from their ancestors and contemporaries, but with enough of their own spin that I would argue that they’re both still “advancing their field.”

Does Reptar take itself too seriously? Absolutely not. Reptar is a silly band name. They put a lot of emphasis on having fun. Their live show might or might not have included a disco ball. Does that mean that they don’t take their craft seriously? Absolutely not.

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Posted on by Celeste in Albums

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