Repeater – We Walk From Safety
Repeater scare me. They frighten me and yet they fascinate me. If We Walk From Safety were a novel it would be something by Thomas Harris , a thriller, not a horror. And it would be a page-turner. The music here, like so many plot-lines, echoes any number of predecessors but the character, the personality of this band allow it to stand out from the crowd. Was it Clive Barker who said that the most chilling villain is never the limping slasher but rather the intelligent, literate type? The ones you cannot hope to outwit in other words. Listening to Repeater’s Steve Krolikowski I start to understand Barker. The anguish here, the passion, the barely controlled rage all frighten me just a little, just enough but what is scaring the Hell out of me right now is how good Repeater have become in such a short space of time.
And how far they could go.
We Walk From Safety sinks its teeth in early (‘Finally A Place’), locks its jaws from thereon in and honestly, you’re happy to let it devour you. One listen was enough to dispel any fears I might have harboured that Ross Robinson could push the group in more of a nu-metal direction. (Everyone knows the Ross Robinson story, right?) Instead the multi-platinum producer has done both band and followers proud. This is a real coming of age record for Repeater, a massive leap forward from their long-playing debut, Iron Flowers not only in terms of production values, but the compositions themselves and indeed the performances. Repeater always had a matchwinner in frontman Krolikowski but on We Walk From Safety the whole band pitches in with some terrific playing. Basslines growl, guitars shimmer in the very best traditions of Brit-oriented post-punk, but it’s the drumming which sounds particularly impressive to these ears. Insistent and driving, they pull the whole album together and keep us grounded whilst other forces threaten to pluck us into the skies.
And then there’s that vocal. Not for the first time Krolikowski delivers a masterclass of power and restraint. A new messiah for the miserablists? There are certainly few who stand comparision. One moment his voice is a soothing pool, the next, a scalding torrent and when Krolikowski bares his soul it is the listener who feels stripped away and cleansed. With songs as brilliant as ‘Black And Selfish Love’, ‘Keep The Sun From Rising’ and ‘The Stars Spell Out Your Name’ you almost wish you were the man. But do we really want to walk the same path as Krolikowski, the same darkened rooms, locked doors and casualty-strewn battlegrounds? These wastelands of Krolikowski’s imagination may be allegorical but they seem to bleed across into real life and with themes of hesitation, exclusion and the occasional eruption of violence we begin to be grateful that we’re only witnesses.
We Walk From Safety is an utterly convincing, compelling record and with it Repeater have become the finished article. There is real substance behind the style now and the sheer intensity of the work on display pushes the effect more toward The God Machine than any Interpol or Editors type. Be prepared to gasp. Behind this albums warm embrace lies cold steel waiting to slip between your ribs. Repeater may walk far from safety but it’s where they are headed that chills me to the bone.
We Walk From Safety is released on the I Am Recordings and White Label Collective labels and is available digitally via the bands website. A physical release is planned for this summer.