Singles: This Repeats – Anxious Fake & Whislin Dixie + Kickstarter

One of my favorite things about modern ska music is it’s incredibly diverse range of sounds. Bands have long ago left the strict definition and take influences from everywhere, and more and more bands are better described as ska-adjacent then as actual ska. I’d say This Repeats fits best in that category. They maintain a few elements of ska on a few songs, but they definitely don’t feel constrained by them. In the case of This Repeats, you might find influences from blues, folk music, R&B, and 1960s rock and pop, rocksteady as well as ska bands like the Specials.

While officially listed as out of Seattle, they are almost as geographically diverse as their influences having members in Denver and Phoenix as well, so most of the work they do is online- making tours and live shows extremely rare. 

The band just released their debut single, Anxious Fake, back in May, but it was released in advance of a full 10-track self-titled LP that is now completely recorded. Initially planned as a digital release only, the band has decided to try to release it on vinyl as well, and, to help fund the project, they are launching a Kickstarter. I’ve been fortunate to be able to hear the entire album, and I can tell you, I think it’s amazing.

Their first two singles from the album are “Anxious Fake” and “Whislin Dixie”. “Anxious Fake” begins with horns that are almost reminiscent of “Margaritaville” before transitioning to a little bit of an indie, bluesy, folksy track. For me, the best part of this first single are probably the backing harmonies, although there is a nice instrumental portion of the song that lets the horns take a little precedence and shine without trying to steal the show, while the lyrics seem to be about growing older and feeling the dread of wasting your youth, and in turn, wasting your present because of the dread of wasting your youth. 

But of these two singles, my preferred is definitely “Whistlin Dixie”- it’s one of my favorite tracks from the album (well, sort of, it’s a track that catches my attention every time, but there are still a few more songs that I prefer). Originally written as more of a folk song, with soulful vocals, made better with the addition of horns. The lyrics in this track carry themes that are common throughout the album, of regret, attempting to outrun the problems in your life, and struggling the struggle to work through your problems.

These two songs are both beautifully written, slow, a little jazzy, but much more folk, blues, and just a little bit of ska. However, as I mentioned before, the Kickstarter is to release the whole album on vinyl- so let’s explore what the rest of these songs include.

The album begins with a short intro track that sounds like you’re at an outdoor party. There are people talking, empty can clanging, and corvids cawing nearby. Drums and guitar intro briefly and the birds can be heard scattering as the people talking indistinctly continues. A simple guitar and melody on the keyboard continue for several seconds before fading into the first track- and what a great pick for an opening track. “They’ll Kill Me” begins with a drum fill and a sultry horn line, before we get a track that reminds me of something from 1950s or 60s rhythm and blues/ rock- something I’ve only seen pulled off by the likes of Bobby Edge. Some slight surf rock vibes, but really, it’s the smooth, sexy vocals that drive this song. There is amazing horns and drums throughout the track, beautiful backing vocal tracks, and the keys all layer to make this track extremely memorable. When I said that there were tracks I prefer to Whistlin Dixie, this is definitely one of them. 

Track three (the second full song) is “Anxious Fake”, which I’ve already discussed, but track four is “I Fell Into This” and damn, did I fall hard into this track. The vocals remind me of Bruno Mars with their soulful style. Acoustic guitar, slow horns, beautiful choral vocal harmonies, and stomps all come together for this slow ballad of a man lost, and seeking his way. While he is lost, he acknowledges that his wife is there to support him despite his flaws and failures. He knows he’s not alone. This track is amazing, and sad, and beautiful, but it’s also hopeful, and the transition from this track to “Whistlin Dixie” is so seamless, it could easily be a continuation of the same song that just bridges to something that feels a little more upbeat and more blues instead of soul. 

While that covers the front half of the album, my absolute favorite song is on the back half. The second half begins with “Kristin Leigh”, one of the more upbeat songs on the album- a beautiful track about a protagonist wanting nothing more than to illuminate the beauty and shine of their partner.

But my favorite track is 108°. I’ve mentioned every track up to this point, just so I can talk about this track. Set in the high desert, the Western themes of the music come through in the guitars, while an old, soulful, mourning voice takes the vocals. In the song, the protagonist sings of wanting a life where he can look out from his porch and see the mountains and live away from it all in the country, and how he is able to provide this life for his son. But then the song acknowledges that his dream might not be the dream of his son, and if his son feels the call of the city, that his son should pursue that dream. The music, the western themes, the horns, all feel like they are longing for something, but the lyrics are what gets me every time. I love the idea of a song that says “this is my dream, to provide something for you, but if your dream is elsewhere, I want nothing more than for you to seek it”. This is beauty.

The album continues with three more tracks to be discovered and explored, but for me, this is all I needed to hear to know that this album is something special. The songs are beautifully told- but it’s all the story of a man, deeply flawed and insecure, but kind and loving. He doesn’t know what he wants in life or how to get it, but he’s been fortunate. He has a love, a wife, and he appreciates that love, and he has a family that he wants to provide for, and he acknowledges that their best interest might not be what he wants for them, but he acknowledges that it’s their life to live as they choose. He’ll keep trying to fight his demons and correct his mistakes. It’s an album that a lot of us can relate to, and many of us aspire to relate to.

The Kickstarter can be found here, going live on the 5th of July, and includes early digital download of the album, stickers, buttons, t-shirts, vinyl, and even a custom song written and recorded by the band!

Please, go support this Kickstarter to make this vinyl a reality.

Written by Gimpleg