Album Review: The Repercussionists - “Thank you. Good night. I hope I didn’t offend you.”

Review by Alex Goyetche

I’m going to start by creating a summary of everything I like about this CD and this group, before I come to the one irrevocable point that stops me from liking this body of work.

1.  The band is called, “The Repercussionists”. Hey, that’s a pretty cool name, right?

2.  The album is called, “Thank you. Good night. I hope I didn’t offend you.” Besides spelling and punctuation, that resembles something similar to the sarcastic wit that I truly find entertaining.

3.  On their website, these guys are sporting a homemade music video of a very well documented live song with a fairly encouraging sized crowd who seem to be genuinely entertained. That in itself is an accomplishment.

The Repercussionists are essentially a meat and potatoes rock band sporting pop format jam-along songs. There really isn’t anything wrong with that. They have a defined sound that will easily allow any listener to know that all the songs must be from the same album, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. At moments through the CD each member proves that they are technically good at their respective section of the music. The guitar player creates a heavily distorted ending resembling the catastrophic finale of Radiohead’s “Karma Police” in the first track “A Hero’s Lament”. The bass line in the second track “Real”, is groovy and above novice level. The drums are tight, and don’t really lose time or give way to any of the stupid fills you’d expect to find in a debut, do it yourself, under the register album. And the singer demonstrates, just about every minute or so, that he can hit some high notes in what would best be described as a masculine way.

So with all that said, here’s my problem; I really dislike Kings of Leon.

You might ask, why does that matter?

It matters because The Repercussionists sound EXACTLY like Kings of Leon.

From the minor 6th heavy power chord riffs to the exact mimicry of the so called nuances of Kings of Leon’s vocalist, it is immediately possible to discern- within seconds of the first song, that these guys are copying the KOL sound.

To make sure I wasn’t alone and using my well founded bias against the four of five Kings of Leon songs I’d actually heard, I showed The Repercussionists demo to a few of my friends, some of which are fans of KOL. They could not help but agree with me.

Now that the levee has broken, I’m going to explain why I believe this to be a bad thing.

The songs are not creative. Any one of them could be substituted for the one that preceded it. This is the verse. This is the catchy catchy chorus. This is the guitar hook, etc. I suppose for avid Much Music fans, this doesn’t pose a problem. But for me it does. Because I like music, I like when it’s interesting, and I like when it has some substance.

The vocals are totally lost behind long drawn-out melodies and poor mixing choices. As someone who must enjoy the lyrics to a song, this is an immediate nuisance. At the few moments when the guitar isn’t totally enveloping the sound and the lyrics do actually come through, they’re nothing worthy of quoting in your Facebook stalk-box. “Have you heard about me, yeah-e-yeah? x4” in “Barfly” or “you’re not the girl who loves me, girl who loves me ohh ohh x10” in “Not the One”. At the risk of sound pretentious, or making a direct quote of a Picnic Face sketch; the whole thing is really banal. It’s really, just, banal.

Every piece in play on this record is just supporting the bland sound that is instantly established. It falls apart very quickly, literally. The vocalists seems to be losing his voice by the albums end as you can spot in the second last track, “Killer Wave”.

At this juncture the best possible outcome I could see for this band is being to Kings of Leon what Theory of a Deadman was to Nickelback. And that should seem frightening to almost everyone. I can only hope that the next effort by this group is a radical departure from this one. I would be happy if they went in any direction.

If I seem scathing here, remember that it all stems from my extreme dislike for Kings of Leon and their sound-alike contemporaries and influences. All of this is subjective and there is a strong possibility that the Halifax scene could support this music. I mean; everyone seems to love Joel Plaskett…


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