Rock outfit Repeater sound like ex-pat Brits who moved to California strictly for the promise of sunshine, as their debut release Iron Flowers literally teems with post-Invasion rock chops. Although just emerging on the music radar, it's already a mighty impressive blip.
The group's sound exists in a similar world as that of Interpol and Editors, and perhaps Doves, although managing to be more accessible than all of them. It's a mostly British influence that looks back fondly to post-punk bands such as the early transitional albums of The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen, where the limitations of punk met new wave, and bands expanded their sound through more emotive filters and an orchestral rock sensibility. And it's this mix of eras and styles that Repeater successfully carries forward.
The opener, "A Second Home", sets up well the premise for the album: chiming guitars, crisp vocals rising slightly beyond deadpan, and a solid rhythm section leading the charge of dynamic builds. It's a strong lead, and is a snapshot representation of the tracks to follow. "Missing" wears its post-punk roots on its sleeve, chugging through a bass-heavy, minor-key rock track. "Carved In Shadow" follows suit, keeping the energy up, and displaying their deft mix of melodic drive in the midst of intense vocal angst.
"Killing Without Question" is probably the closest thing to a radio single on the album, and weaves a very catchy melodic thread throughout its five-and-a-half minutes. "No Single Lover" is a very median song for Iron Flowers; while not the strongest cut, it does represent a microcosm of the different styles and textures of the preceding tracks. The closing track, "Last Conscience", is unfortunately the weakest link, representing a split personality: a verse section that delivers good enough sound but unfortunately doesn't really go anywhere in particular, mixed with a more anthemic bridge/chorus section that tries to pick up the pieces. It's a minor quibble when set against much stronger cuts before it.
Really the only weakness to the set as a whole is a steadfast resolve and devotion to their stated sound. The experience is seamlessly consistent, but at the expense of diversity. There is little deviation from songs one through eight, so unless you're compelled at the beginning, you might not make it to the end. On the flipside, though, for those inclined towards any of the groups/genres mentioned prior, Repeater deliver the goods. They have a solid sound, clear vocals and catchy songwriting. Although coming a bit late to the party – where several other groups have already hammered out the sub-genre for them – Iron Flowers is a remarkably solid sounding debut, and generally bests its peers in the scene.
The band is currently in the studio with veteran producer Ross Robinson (The Cure, Korn, Slipknot), working on the followup to Iron Flowers. It will be interesting to hear the results of this union, and the directions he is able to help the band stretch creatively. Repeater is definitely one to keep an eye on.