New review of "All Mind In The Cat House" by Repo Man on Live Music Scene.
Local bunch Repo Man enjoy delivering a barrage of raucous ruckus. The Bristol-based four-piece imbue noise-rock with psych, pop and punk aromas, creating a sound that sounds like a distorted Swans, Sonic Youth or The Fall. There's a fondness for grinding guitars against the clatter of percussive thwacks – it's most definitely noisy – though there are also calmer moments, where vocalist Bojak delivers barbed passages of sprechgesang and performance poetry. They're not going to be to everyone's taste, but for those who are partial to a spot of volume and/or distortion should definitely look closer.
Repo Man’s debut record, 'All Mind In The Cat House', comprises eight tracks. It's experimental music – 'Dog Loose In The Woods' is an elegantly messy vortex of sampled vox, serrated math-rock axes and polyrhythmic drums – but they often sweeten their avante-garde facet with moments of poppier glory; opener 'Idle Temperament' is home to a jaunty salsa rhythm and glimmering fretwork behind Bojak's vitriolic sermon. There's a fine line struck between proggy flailings and simpler fare to engage with; this first offering can be difficult at times, but you'll find moments to savour scattered liberally throughout.
The record isn't for the faint of heart. It's repeatedly and brutally in-your-face, and those seeking festival sing-alongs will find it a tad tricky to keep up with the stream-of-consciousness speeches they deliver. Dancing is a no-go. You can thrash and wail and holler and writhe, but dancing is difficult – rhythms drop in and out and waver in non-standard time signature. There's free-jazz saxophone, portions of (what sounds like) improvisation and an acerbic flurry of narrative, the meanings of which are tough to decipher, but which sound like social commentary.
'Oh Cecil' burbles with bass riffs and an unnerving Dr. Frank-N-Furter feverishness from Bojak. The foursome build suspense, altering minimalist portions subtly and lobbing black metal interludes into the fray; for the most part, it's led by a hypnotic motorik. 'Throwing Kinskis' employs warped funk bass to underpin the frantic spiel – it's got a mid-'90s Red Hot Chilli Peppers thing going on (back when Dave Navarro forced a heavy element into their affairs). 'Endangered Agenda' is Bob Dylan on PCP; rapidfire John Cooper Clarke-ishness and dislocated harmonica blend with a vague folk guitar twang.
If you like your noise-rock gristly, enjoy this prime cut. It's bloody, raw and visceral; 'Fred Vent' notably talks of “umbilical transit” and a “placenta enema.” You can guarantee Repo Man are a spectacle live. If you're not a fan of the style, Repo Man will do very little to change your mind – if fact, they might just reaffirm preconceptions you've got – but for those that are fans of The Birthday Party or Ornette Coleman, step right up, because this is an album packed with excitement, energy and fascinating titbits.