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‘Hotly anticipated’ does not really do justice to the level of excitement the release of Reptile Youth’s debut album is generating among fans and critics alike. Those in the know are expecting the Danish duo to deliver a defining moment of 2012 - injecting their off kilter brand of highly-charged electro-punk-pop into the world’s consciousness - and Reptile Youth aren’t in the business of disappointing.
Reptile Youth was formed by Mads Damsgaard Kristiansen and Esben Valløe in 2009. It was their intense period of gigging through Asia and Europe that earned Reptile Youth their radically evangelical fan base, while also prompting a string of superlative-laden reviews hailing the Youth as the saviors of rock n’ roll. Hype aside, the incredible energy generated by Kristiansen and Valløe and their extended live line up have made the arrival of this debut album a red letter day for their clued up followers.
After having been picked up by influential hfn music and recently signed to legendary livebooking agencies ITB for Europe and ICM in the US, the band is now ready to take on the world.
Danish producer Kasper Bjørke, who acts as the band’s co-manager, declares: “The album captures exactly that same madness and dynamics that the band master on stage and that was exactly what we were aiming for all along”.
Amen to that. Produced in London with star producers Dave M. Allen (The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, Human League) and Mark Ralph (Filthy Dukes, Hot Chip) this is a collection of tracks to reset the musical dial. Having already laid out their agenda with the turbo-charged electro pop perfection of ‘Speeddance’ and the grandiose ‘Black Swan Born White’ (both released as singles on hfn this year), the rest of the record makes good on their exceptional promise.
Second single ‘Black Swan Born White’ kicks off the journey – as epic a statement of post punk vitality as you could hope for. A devastating track built on Mads Damsgaard’s soaring vocal and sparkling new wave rhythm courtesy of Ebsen Valløe.
What’s clear through-out the album is the total confidence with which Reptile Youth operate – this is a highly assured debut with an acute ear for melody. This is instantly evident on ‘Morning Sun’ – a delicious slice of pure aural bliss in just over 3 minutes, every much as optimistic as its title. ‘Dead End’ follows next, switching up the vibe – hard and sharp riffs, thunderous drums and portentous vocals – a biblical electro-rock jam.
‘Speeddance’s’ primal bounce will be well known to most listeners by now - the devastating debut single that announced Reptile Youth’s arrival early this year. ‘Be My Yoko Ono’, comes up next, a hand-in-hand speed rush through the city, featuring a call and response duet with the vocalist of the Danish female band Nelson Can. ‘A Flash in the Forest’ sees Mads in a reflective mood, coming across like a 21st century Ray Davies - A beautifully produced track with an instantly classic backing vocal hook.
It’s hard to pick stand out tracks on such an assured album, but ‘Shooting up Sunshine’ has to be a strong contender. A chiming piano hook introduces this 3 and a half minute gem – containing the turbo-powered euphoric pop that Reptile Youth are clearly making their own. This is the soundtrack to a million great nights and the perfect days that follow.
One of the rockiest moments on the ablum, ‘Heart Blood Beat’ fires along at a breakneck pace, a surefire live favorite with a filthy synth line destined to loosen a few hips around the world. The penultimate track, ‘It’s Easy To Lose Yourself’ mixes up a sweet melody and arrangement with memorable lyrics, before the album rounds out with the longest track on the release – ‘Fear.’ It’s a rousing, epic, driving closure to an album that will surely find Reptile Youth exploding across the musical landscape this year. Big things await.
Release/catalogue number: hfn19cd
Release date: Sep 24, 2012