The Reptilian - Boys' Life (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Reptilian

Boys' Life (2009)

Count Your Lucky Stars

Lying somewhere between the freneticism of Bear vs. Shark and the jazzy, off-kilter nature of Dillinger Escape Plan is the Reptilian and their debut EP, Boys' Life, an record that's as impressive as it is awkward. Awkwardly impressive, even.

Through four songs and about 18 minutes, this Kalamazoo, Michigan quartet weaves, sweeps, broods and rocks in a lot of different ways. The Bear vs. Shark worship, intentional or not, is omnipresent on this EP, but never more pronounced than on opening track "I'll Ram My Ovopositor Down Your Throat and Lay My Eggs in Your Chest But I'm Not an Alien!". Angular, noodling guitar parts and off-time drumming accompany the frantic vocals of Jon Sacha, and while the guitar work is busy at times, it's never aimless, working to drive the song further and further into weirdness; shit even gets a little funky toward the end, but considering what else took place in the song it's hardly weird to hear it.

The instrumentation becomes 'heavier' on "So...What Are My Torso Options?" and "I Can't Drink This, It's Warm!", the former highlighted by impressive, jazzy drumming and urgent group vocals (but really, when are group vocals not urgent?) and the latter anchored by more deliberate, pounding drums and absolutely crazy vocals from Sacha. And while the Reptilian are hardly a classic 'gang vocals' type of band, they're much appreciated and welcomed, and most importantly they work in "Drink."

The other track featured here on Boys' Life is "Wallkicks Will Work," and it's a brief, unremarkable instrumental track that's far softer and more atmospheric than anything else here, and seemingly only serves as a precursor to the diverse tempos these guys are capable of pulling off right next to their more upbeat fare. A track in this vein that's a little more fleshed out would be a welcome thing, but as is it doesn't really do much -- it's just kind of there.

It'll be interesting to see if the Reptilian can keep their energy for the duration of a full-length, but there's more than enough on Boys' Life to pique and maintain interest.