Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
A song like "Phonetics," from Reptar's debut EP, "Oblangle Fizz Y'all," is one of those loaded songs. It's something that you'd compare to a six or seven-course meal, one that keeps coming at you, in waves of different flavors, cutting in on the conversation and altering the flow of it. When you break it down, however, it's still just one single meal, a combination and collection of dissimilar forces that are all going to the same place, once the chewing's been completed. The Athens, Georgia five-piece seem to have stuffed its many idiosyncrasies into this one, nearly six-minute-long song, giving us the feeling that we've slipped into some interesting personal moment vortex where it's not necessarily clear who's speaking and who's being spoken to. It takes us into a scrambled head and along the banks of a conversation between the inner voice and the sounds that come out of the outside mouth. We're mostly hearing one side of the conversation, but every so often, within the song, there are interjections.
It makes for a fascinating trip through all of the awkward places that lead singer Graham Ulicny is infatuated by in the song. These are the places that he's been taken to, blindfolded and wide-awake. They are the places that he'd travel to and spend time in on his own and they're also the kinds of places where he winds up through no power of his own. It makes for something of a dilemma that's hard to figure out, but when he, bassist Ryan Engelberger, keyboardist William Kennedy and drummer Andrew McFarland get together, it sounds like an incredible funhouse of issues all coming together to form one sweaty murk. It's part Piebald and part transmissions from the shorting out brains of video gamers.
It's schizophrenic and captivating to hear Ulicny sing, "Good morning/Good morning/Good morning/I can feel your body/It is moving/When my body moves like that/It means I'm upset/Good night/I can feel your feet/Yeah, they are twitching/When my feet twitch like that/It means that I'm depressed./A movie?/No, I don't think I could handle a movie/If I did anything else, I think my head would explode." It's like being able to just spew it all out there, to get it out into the open, to hear how crazy or not crazy the spaghetti of thoughts really is. He knows where they're coming from and when he sings, "And all of these emotions/Buried deep in emotional oceans/You spend the rest of your life finding out what they do," it's him admitting that there's no telling where they're going.