People like to throw the term “angular” around a lot to describe guitar playing. That said, angular just doesn’t quite cut it for All Fixed Up, the debut full-length from Vancouver garage-rock duo, the Repossessors.
With the opener “Homecoming,” wily frontman/ax-slinger, CJ Brabant explodes from the starting gate with a buzzsaw guitar onslaught packed with enough petulance to shred up more than a few speaker cones. As soon as the manic drumming of Kyle Valade joins the fracas, the Repossessors set off on an escalating death race of venomous punk-sass that drains all its fuel in 34 minutes before crashing to a sudden halt.
Brabant’s lyrics are often sung so close to an all-out wail that it seems he’s either competing with the fervor of Valade’s drum storm or just getting some kind of masochistic zeal from tearing his throat apart. It makes me wonder if “Let’s Dance” is really about dancing or something more sinister — especially since it follows the doomy prisoner’s story of “Room 403.” The Repossessors are also more than thrilled to grind punkabilly down to its most abraded state in “Living In The City” and “My Section 8 Home.”
I want to say All Fixed Up is a straight-up guitar/vocals/drums album, but it’s really more of an anti-bass album. The mix’s distinct lack of low-end frequencies first draws the listener’s attention to the thrashy riffage of the guitar, then to the unsettling void at the album’s core. The Repossessors launch all their aggression around this vortex without thinking twice.
This is a refreshing turn from many two-piece garage-rock artists who often round out the form with the wall-of-sound and amps approach. The stark production also seems to fit for a band featuring prominent imagery of a lobotomy on its album cover, with terrifying focus on something subtracted.