Repeater – Iron Flowers
‘Hope in a darkened heart’
Draw a line from Joy Division, through The Sound, Kitchens of Distinction, ‘The Bends’ era Radiohead and Puressence to Interpol, Editors etc and I’ll extend that line to Repeater.
Interested? You should be.
Repeater are not Goths. (Although, like The Chameleons and Killing Joke before them, they will pull in their share of Goth fans) Their music has a dark intensity but they lift the mood with beautiful guitars and occasional swathes of unashamed synth. You will appreciate these humming bass lines and ringing chords but nothing will have prepared you for the scalded vocals of Steve Krolikowski. I know nobody comparable, tonally, except perhaps Finn Andrews but the feeling behind these songs goes way beyond The Veils frontman. To listen is both a frightening and compelling experience.
More importantly, in Krolikowski we may have discovered a new young symbolist for the post-millennium. These aren’t the wild, tormented visions of a Rimbaud or Verlaine but rather something more fragile, grounded and human. In Krolikowski’s lyrics, the dehumanizing effects of conflict serve as metaphors for his own troubled thought processes. Themes flicker between struggle and aftermath. A frustrated domestic situation is manifested as a weary, war grave reverie Where a TS Eliot or even an Ian Curtis might have romanticised the casualties of war, Krolikowski deals in the grim reality facing the survivors. Not only the frustration and the loss, but also the clearing up of the mess. I.e. the dealing with it (or not).
Is this bravery or necessity? I suspect a bit of both. Listening to this albums brilliant best, (the central suite of ‘Carved In Stone’, ‘The Gifted and The Damned’ and ‘Killing Without Question’) feels like a cathartic release. I find myself doubly thankful that Krolikowski is able to let this stuff out, for his sake as much as ours.
When we speak of ‘promising’ bands it can often be misinterpreted. Somehow it implies lack of delivery. With Iron Flowers, Repeater are already delivering. Where they ‘promise’, is in their obvious potential to become an important band, a favourite band. They already have a follow-up in the pipeline with Ross Robinson at the controls and it promises to be one of those red-letter release dates. Draw a circle on your calendar. Take the day off and get to the store at opening time. It’ll be brave. It’ll be beautiful. It’ll be gifted and quite probably damned.