Portland, Ore.-duo, Reptaliens have stepped away from the dreamy sounding synth drenched work on their two previous albums, to pick up bass and guitars and return to their initial 90’s alt rock influences. Due to the necessary isolation of the pandemic, songwriters and married collaborators Bambi and Cole Browning, were pulled away from their past synth pop explorations of ideas from sci-fi, religious cults, and conspiracy theories into the more immediate surroundings of their suburban neighborhood, whether it was the wildlife that shows up “In Your Backyard,” or their four-legged living companion, “Like a Dog.”
Previous albums and live performances have included other Portland musicians, but here the duo play all the instruments, Bambi’s potent melodic basslines giving shape to the songs, while her voice still floats with airy psychedelic spaciness above the songs’ trippy guitars and drum accents. Recorded and produced by the two of them, entirely at home in their garage practice space, the album manages to balance the dreaminess of Bambi’s voice, “Do You Know You’re Sleeping?”, with the more grounded rhythms of the drums, and eerie guitar effects.
In the past they may have focused on some alternative philosophical perspective, or attempted to bring to life a character from a Philip K. Dick novel, but now they just want you to know that even though “my mind (and body) has gone to shit,” “I Feel Fine.” Lots of us working through this elongated pandemic can surely relate, but Reptaliens make it easier with catchy pop songs that tend to connect effortlessly, while insinuating themselves subtlety into memorable earworms that linger long after you’ve turned off the stereo.
Key Tracks: “Like a Dog” / “Don’t Wait for Me” / “Take It”
Artists With Similar Fire: Belly / Snail Mail / Soccer Mommy