When Bambi and Cole Browning started writing the songs that would be become Reptaliens’ 2017 debut LP, FM-2030, they had no intention of starting a band. Focusing at first on creating music and art on a purely personal level, the project soon took off when the duo expanded to a four-piece live band. They delved into songwriting inspired by sci-fi art and literature, cult mentalities, and deep connections. The result was the band’s self-defined genre of “dreamwave,” which connected musical influences ranging from Gary Wilson-inspired jazzy lounge music, the warmth of Broadcast’s recording production, to Todd Rundgren’s outer space synth sounds.
After touring throughout most of 2017 and 2018 with STRFKR, Cults, and Of Montreal, the band returned home and went straight into renowned Portland studio Jackpot to record their sophomore LP, VALIS. Titled after the 1981 Philip K. Dick novel, VALIS is a cohesive collection of songs unified in sound and structure and supported by recurring lyrical themes. Reptaliens wanted to recreate the warmth of something personal and familiar, while also providing the listener with the room to create a unique relationship with the music. This duality can be found in the constructs, themes, and imagery portrayed through vocalist and bassist Bambi’s lyrical concepts. Juxtaposed against the backdrop of friendly and lighthearted pop hooks and melodies, Bambi engages her audience through motifs of loneliness, longing, abduction, isolation, and change as well as love and personal connection.
In the throes of the pandemic , Reptaliens released the digital EP, Wrestling, which differs in two major ways from the groups previous releases: It is the first recording project engineered, produced, and mixed entirely by the songwriting duo of Bambi and Cole Browning. It also stylistically differs greatly from anything the band has released before, resulting in a darker and more emotive sound, opting for the heavy use of synths and drum machines in lieu of guitars and drum kits, and paying homage to the minimal wave sound of electronic post-punk.
After the completion of Wrestling, Bambi and Cole moved to a self-sustaining, off-the-grid farm to continue work on new music, and further explore new musical genres with which to expand the high concept world of Reptaliens. With pandemic restrictions lifting, Reptaliens are hitting the road as they gear up for the release of their third full-length album in 2022.