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Music Review

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Artist: Savage Republic
Label: Mobilization Recordings
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 20 May 2022

Mobilization Recordings releases Meteora, by Industrial/Post-Punk/Soundtrack band Savage Republic. The combo emerged in the 1980s, releasing five albums up to 1989 when they went quiet. 13 Years later they briefly resurfaced for a reunion tour of the US in support of the rerelease of those five albums packaged together with related singles. In 2005 Thom Fuhrmann, Ethan Port and Greg Grunke revived the band, with drummer Alan Waddington added the following year. The album 1938 was put out in 2007. Kerry Dowling replaced Greg Grunke before extensive touring in Europe. New albums Varvakios (2012) and Aegean (2014) were followed by a number of singles. Meteora is described as a mix of tribal textures, political anthems and Morricone-esque surf instrumentals. It includes the pandemic-inspired piece, 'Unprecedented', gifted to the band by Wire’s Graham Lewis...

Track List: 'Nothing At All', 'Stingray', 'Gods and Guns', 'Bizerte Rolls', 'Meteora', 'Unprecedented', 'Boca del Vaca', 'Newport ’86', and 'Ghostlight'.

I have never followed Savage Republic before, the style and genre not exactly being my cup of tea. So, I wondered what coming fresh to this release might do to change my mind. It’s quite Industrial from the start, with the political element emerging through the vocal stance – a sort of picket line chant. 'Stingray' is a nice short instrumental. The ringing guitar sound seems to originate from the same pitch as The Shadows’ own piece; a somewhat subterranean echo. 'God and Guns' is a dredging stomp. The moderate fuzzing sound has a certain mysticism attached; it’s mesmeric and I wonder at its prospective impact as a longer instrumental. Nice. It’s followed by a semi-acoustic piece which works a little like a Russian dance. It’s a traditional cultural number with a difference, both experimental and familiar. Another nice instrumental. 'Meteora' is another stomping track. Some of these guitar arrangements remind me a little of Big Country toned-down a little. Without the political vocals these songs sound great – the soundtrack element is allowed to shine, but without losing that band music drive.

This is a long way from the raucous railing at the world I was expecting. Instead, there is the feel of relaxed jamming on the majority of these tracks, which comes across as comfortable listening with no idea where it will change or end. Although I may not find myself returning to it that often, I have found the experience unexpectedly enjoyable. You’ll find many influences here, including Tribal, Spaghetti Western, Industrial, Shuffle, Country, Soundtrack and Groove.


Ty Power

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