Deli Magazine


- by BrokeMC

Reptar, as defined by Wikipedia, is “a fictional character from the American animated series Rugrats.” He’s a color-changing Godzilla who, depending on the occasion, is either out to save the world or destroy it. Similarly, the band Reptar is a force to be reckoned with, a furious dance party whirlwind fiasco which, depending on your level of immersion, may either save your world or demolish it.

Hailing from the swarming Athens/Atlanta scene, Reptar has risen to astonishing notoriety since their 2008 inception. According to the band, they went from playing house parties to rocking Lollapalooza relatively overnight. Having Ben Allen (producer from Animal Collective, Gnarls Barkley, et al) in their corner was certainly no hindrance. Their two 7-inches are spectacularly produced and portend an epic full-length hopefully to be released sometime in 2012. Their recorded tracks coupled with explosive performances at ACL and SXSW, sent shockwaves reverberating through the indie blogosphere regarding this degenerate monster of a band and their potential for gleeful mayhem.

Graham Ulicny, the head of the monster, is the guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter. His voice, like a psilocybin-drenched oboe, croons above his frenetic guitar lines directing the energy of the band to furious heights. The melodies and song ideas he generates are further articulated by the limbs of this Jurassic beast. William Kennedy is the arms and the claws. His penchant for analog synths and extra-terrestrial sample usage contribute that certain retro texture to their music that is so in vogue right now. Andrew McFarland, the stomping legs and feet, channels his Brazilian heritage to inflict riotous percussion tracks. The tail, Ryan Engelberger, is the accompanying thumping bass which smashes everything in its wake. They work well together, and their tenacity is evident in their development.

The formative years of Reptar were strained by geographical disparity. With one member attending college in New Hampshire and driving down for shows in and around Athens, GA, the band was forced to investigate new and different ways to cultivate their synergy. Sometimes they would only get one rehearsal together in before a show, other times they claim to have met in dreams to work out their exemplary arrangements and dynamics. Their ability to fall in with each other so easily can be attributed as much to their musical prowess as to their familiarity with each other; Ryan and Graham have been friends since kindergarten. Whatever sublime methodology they utilized to cope with their imperfect genesis worked for them, and a second generation of animated monster bands are sure to follow in their deep and imposing footsteps.

The affable weirdness of the group is immediately perceptible in their name. In fact, rumors and lore of the origination of the cutesy-monster moniker are rampant across the interweb. From word-association to a band member’s bike or dead cat, to a pet name given from a prison inmate, no one can seem to agree upon why the band chose a Nickelodeon character as its patron saint. However, for a band dedicated to the indefatigable pursuit of good times and crowded dance floors, it’s as good a name as any.

When the unsuspecting denizens of any major city gaze skyward and glimpse the lumbering hulk of a dinosaur smashing down their avenues, the immediate reaction is understandably to scream and run in the opposite direction. Reptar is on a rampage of a different sort altogether. Their undeniable positivity and compelling musicianship is set to reverse the trend so that soon the crowds will be running toward the monster and begging to hear its roar.