Athens band Reptar want you to like them, they really do. And they try to make it so easy – their cutesy 90s band name, quirky songs and a sunshine soaked debut album mean you find yourself really wanting to like them back. Which is why it feels more disappointing than usual that 'Body Faucet' is just… average.
There’s a myriad of bands that Reptar can be compared to – Animal Collective, Vampire Weekend, MGMT, even Paul Simon or shades of Elvis Costello. And that’s the real difficulty with the album; it’s very difficult to figure out what Reptar actually are apart from an amalgamation of other people’s sounds. That’s not to accuse them of anything; it seems like a very natural mistake. It’s just not particularly original.
From the 50s doo-wop influences on 'Natural Bridge' to a heartfelt lament about a girl dead in a bike accident on, er, 'Ghost Bike', Reptar have a new twist on their afrofunk synth-pop with every song. It gets to the point where they need to calm down and maybe tone down the synths a bit.
Previous EP 'Oblangle Fizz Y'all' had Reptar throwing their tunes in your face with unreserved abandon; now on 'Body Faucet' they feel polished and hyped up. There's very little feeling, aside from the surface 'let's dance' vibe – still waters run deep, but 'Body Faucet' is so rushed that there’s not much else to it.
That aside, the album isn't bad. It's fun and dancey and it's easy to hear why Reptar are so known for their live shows – if the songs were live and the energy dialled up by fifty per cent or so then it'd be a whirlwind of glorious dance pop. It feels like Reptar's live show reputation just hasn’t translated well enough to the album; 'Houseboat Babies' finds singer Graham Ulicny asking 'Can you feel it?' and being answered by a chorus of 'Yes, I can feel it!'. Live, this would be an enthused highlight of the show but on CD it just feels tired and obvious.
Final track 'Water Runs' at least ends the album on the same high note that shines through the album. It's impossible not to enjoy at least one song, and the band are so clearly enjoying themselves that music aside, it'll make you smile to yourself. If you like Vampire Weekend, you’ll love this.