Reptaliens, FM-2030 (Captured Tracks)
[NIGHTMARE POP] On the surface, Reptaliens' debut full-length album feels and sounds a lot like a fairly standard dream-pop affair. The entire mix is seeped in reverb and chorus from start to finish, amounting to a rich and rewarding listen that glistens and glides along like a mirage.
Dig deeper, though, and you'll find some genuinely disturbing shit under the lattice of detuned synths and shimmering guitars. The best tracks on FM-2030 play like distorted fever dreams populated by stalkers, serial killers and Satan himself.
The hook is in the juxtaposition of singer-bassist Bambi Browning's serene vocals and guitarist Julian Kowalski's trembling arpeggios with lyrics that evoke drippy existential dread and the uncertain terror of psychedelics. "Come on DMT find me/Unlock the secrets I seek," Browning sings over the chilled-out lounge-funk of "Simulation." Keyboardist Cole Browning shines as the album's understated sonic superstar on "Nunya," the album's bittersweet centerpiece. Manufacturing both woozy ambience in the background and a beautifully woeful synth riff in the fore, it's sure sure to import more than a few new fans from the Beach House camp.
Building a compelling, live-band-driven effort from hazy atmospherics and wobbly melodies is trickier than the recent crop of bedroom-based dream-pop purveyors would have you believe. FM-2030 is a testament to Reptaliens' knack for writing weird and wonderful tunes that aren't reliant on a maelstrom effects to actually sound good.
SEE IT: Reptaliens play Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., with Walter TV on Thursday, October 5. 9 pm. $10 advance, $12 day of show. 21+.