Published on March 27th, 2022


The everything old is new aesthetic is now not so new anymore, and there are plenty of groups who utilize lo-fi in lieu of charisma or personality. When your shoegaze is a schtick or your aw-shucks persona is a cover for past acts of toxic machismo, what can you do but co-opt a personality?

Reptaliens seem to be the real deal, though. Their songs cover conspiracy theories, alien interactions and other “X-Files” arcana. It’s an audio surrealist, Art Bell Coast to Coast” radio emanation filtered through a sun-drenched synth-pop dreamscape. Created by husband and wife Cole and Bambi Browning, Reptaliens, as described on their Bandcamp, draw on “sci-fi art, cult mentality and deep connections” to create “lo fidelity chameleon dreamscapes somewhere between abstract expressionism and surrealism both sonically and visually.”

Where past Reptaliens releases were ensemble productions, the Oregonians’ newest offering, “Multiverse,” is a product of Covid lockdown: a stripped-down two-piece version of their past output, streamlined to essential elements. It’s more alternative, guitar-driven ’90s rock than the psychedelic haze of earlier work. Per their Bandcamp, the Brownings were in a loop of listening to “Been Caught Stealing” by Jane’s Addiction and from there the music just started to flow. “That really kicked it off,” Cole . “It was so fast and easy and fun that we said, ‘Let’s do more like that.’”

Is it true? In many cases with bands like this, the legend is fit for print and twice as entertaining. And when you’re dabbling in sci-fi, isn’t the legend really the truth even when it’s not? If you can think it, then you can manifest it. And this is where the extraterrestrial, cultish, mind-control stuff comes in. Be wary of the band’s grainy, VHS visual style and their cheerful Helvetica fonts. There’s subliminal, Reptalien-brain messaging in there that says, among other things, “Buy our merch,” and it’s tough not to obey.

Reptaliens play with Small Crush and Hot Flash Heat Wave, 8pm Friday April 15 at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach, $15. ~ Tim Moffatt