Fellow humans! The time is now!
Sad fact: The older we get, the harder it becomes to venture outside our little bailiwicks. That’s true in life but also for music critics, who often fall into the trap of inertial negativity – focusing harder on what we don’t like than what we do. Yours truly pleads guilty to such supine behavior, bypassing more-unorthodox recordings whenever a decent Chameleons UK or Echo and the Bunnymen clone rears its derivative post-punk head.
That makes the Reptilian Government’s new EP and associated singles so refreshing. First off, what conspiracy nut worth his salt could possibly resist that name? But beyond the kitsch factor, these wacky English-speaking Poles have hit on a spacey, disco-ey, yet somehow melody-drenched formula all their own. Mix Independence Day‘s sinister invaders with the benevolent aliens from Close Encounters; teach them bass, drums, keyboards, and guitars; write a slew of catchy songs; then teleport the whole kit and caboodle back to 1978 to get an idea of where Reptilian Government is coming from. Although futuristic and UFO-minded, the Reptilian Government possess a rhythmic 1970s funk/disco sensibility more suited to Kool and the Gang than EDM – that is, if Kool featured intricate, wailing guitar solos and curated prog-rock aspirations.
So who are these, er, ‘people’? Truth is tough to come by, as befits a shadowy alien cabal. Edited from their adorable Bandcamp bio: “Not be afraid of us. More music. No worries. We speak terrestrial English and like very much Polish language, which is also the most useful in the south of X25 exoplanet.” Say what? To paraphrase Captain Jean-Luc Picard, I suppose we’ll just have to live with the mystery. But exoplanet origins aside, these eight combined singles and EP tracks (actually seven plus one remix) are hooky, quirky, and sometimes downright groovy. Technically, Children of the Sun was released as a standalone EP, but for the complete subversive experience, be sure to download their four previous singles as well.
Epic nine-minute single “Religion Quiz” marries funky bass lines and 1970s porn-movie licks to a nifty electric-piano riff, shifting course at least three times before winding up on a NASA rocket pad, ready to launch. Flighty “Space Disco” delivers exactly what the title promises – kinky dance-floor grind ladled atop ELO keyboards and some of the rowdiest guitar licks on the album. Featuring a rare complement of full lyrics, “No Filter?” caroms from sensual to icy to wicked, then all the way back again. (Sample lyric: “Three magic words… I don’t care.”).
Personal favorite and title track “Children of the Sun” functions as five songs in one, starting like a Stone Roses “Madchester” rave-jam before spacing out with keyboards and fuzzy guitar, then topping it all off with a jazzy Chuck Mangione-style finish. Still, that X-Files UFO sensibility remains firmly implanted, like cosmic background radiation, emerging every few minutes as a timely reminder to check our oxygen supply.
This is odd, obscure, idiosyncratic stuff, unlike anything else you’ve heard this year. But man, what a groove! So, sit back, prostrate yourself to our new Reptilian overlords, and enjoy.