Life’s trials and tribulations can be said to be character building and certainly it is easy to feel that about the Fertile Reptile sound. An acoustic parade of craft, passion, and energy, it is a rousing affair with a definite emotive edge as eagerly shown by the trio’s new EP, cryptically named, EP.
The band is based in Co Cavan Ireland, a place already tattooed on our eager senses through another threesome, The Radioactive Grandma. Large in space, small in populace, the county has a music heart which cannot be ignored, for us that band and now Fertile Reptile stand right at the centre. Both bands have an acoustic rock bred sound and there is no escaping thinking of the sadly demised Radioactive Grandma when listening to the Fertile Reptile EP, that band’s Johno Leader indeed mixed and mastered the quartet of tracks, but it swiftly and firmly proved the latter has its own distinct sound. It is a proposition which also teased with essences sparking thoughts of The Wonderstuff and The Woodentops in varying degrees which equally only added to its rich captivation.
As mentioned the band’s journey to date has not been plain sailing. Formed early 2009, the trio of vocalist/guitarist Peter Denton, bassist Jamie Byrne, and drummer Dwayne Kiernan leapt into the local live scene taking punk, metal, and ska influences into their intimately themed songs. “Due to mental and physical health difficulties” though the outfit disbanded towards the close of the following year but their friendship endured and saw them coming together to jam from time to time and work on other projects. In 2015, Kiernan underwent surgery for a rare spinal disorder but complications left him with brain injury and mobility issues leading him to have to give up playing drums. Music will have its day though and he turned to the bodhrán and in 2018 the three came together with a couple of acoustic tracks in Denton’s pocket and emerged as Fertile Reptile; his electric guitar swapped for an acoustic incitement to join the electric enticement of bass and that, as within their first EP, quickly addictive intimately manipulative bodhrán.
To be honest everything about the band’s EP got under the skin and quickly, its first track, Can’t Feel Anything, invading with a swing no hip or foot could ignore. Denton’s guitar is a smiling enticement, the darker hues of Byrne’s bass the perfect companion as Kiernan’s rhythm on goatskin, or whatever his bodhrán wears, dances. Denton’s vocals equally had ears and thoughts keenly involved as the song eagerly strolled all the time inviting and receiving enthused participation.
Virulently infectious it is a tremendous start to the release and quickly matched in catchiness and enterprise by Forget About It. It was with this magnet of a song that The wonder Stuff spicing more firmly revealed itself and similarly there is a tint of XTC to its gleeful canter. Like a spirited embrace of summer around reflective words, enlivened even more by the violin of Christophe Capewell, the track had body and appetite bouncing before making way for the equally irresistible Abusement Park. The rawer rock heart of the band’s sound fuels and shapes the character and imagination of the song, its emotive dispute and physical boisterousness together rather than at odds in its galvanic shuffle; Kiernan’s zestful backing vocals another alluring texture in the contagion.
There is a calmer pose to closing track, Tubby Lad, though there is no avoiding its instinctive catchiness and inherent spirit. Again lyrics tap into intimate thoughts as melody and harmonies caressed an already greedy appetite for the band’s sound, the song a powerhouse of incitement and vibrancy even in its reposeful gait.
We have had the pleasure to check out some truly enjoyable and thrilling treats this past year and the Fertile Reptile EP stands tall among them.
The EP is out now; available @ https://fertilereptile.bandcamp.com/album/ep
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Pete RingMaster 07/11/2019
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