Personnel: Graham Ulicny (vocals, guitar); Jace Bartet (guitar); Walter Fancourt (flute, saxophone); Sean Smith (trumpet); William Kennedy (keyboards); Reid Weigner (marimba, percussion); Andrew McFarland (drums).
Audio Mixer: Andy LeMaster.
Recording information: Bit Heart Studios, Greensboro, NC; Chase Park Transduction, Athens, GA.
With Lurid Glow, Reptar follow up their spirited, shimmering first LP, Body Faucet, with a still more crackling version of the debut's exuberance. Punchier with more percussion and brass, they've built on their sound without significantly altering it. Leading by example is the peculiar-in-a-good-way Graham Ulicny, who, like a hyper-caffeinated Britt Daniel, sings with more throat-shredding vigor on this release. The instrumentation, syncopated arrangements, and quirky vocals sometimes get the band compared to Talking Heads, but never more deservedly than on the record's opener, "No One Will Ever Love You," which recalls their "This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)" in all of these elements. Similarly attention-grabbing with its clanging percussion, the marching, brass-drizzled "Ice Black Sand" offers the disillusioned chant, "No good person in the heart of life" set to Spoon-like immaculate clamor. The album's mostly tense lyrics address trying to connect with others in a time when technology and distance separate them. "Amanda" ("Silent the vow between on the internet"), a percussive ballad with synths, marimba, brass, and woodwinds, softens the aggressiveness without losing the literally striking sound of the album. The spacy and new wavy "Cable" has animated, syncopated, Fred Schneider-type patter demanding -- shouting for -- romantic attention from the song's target. Something that song and others, like the wacky, instrumentally moaning "Particleboard," make clear is that these guys aren't holding back here. Where Body Faucet was sometimes criticized for not capturing the energy of the band's electric live shows, Lurid Glow comes closer with a raw throat, bolstered instrumentation, and moxie. ~ Marcy Donelson