Portland’s Reptaliens| caught the attention of Captured Tracks before they’d even dropped an official release, and now the Brooklyn record label’s putting out their debut LP, FM-2030. The album’s named after transhumanist author and philosopher FM-2030, though it’s not quite as unconventional as his teachings.
Led by husband-wife duo Cole and Bambi Browning, Reptaliens’ live sets include guitarist Julian Kowalski, drummer Tyler Vergian (Lola Buzzkill, Dim Wit), and synth player Bryson Hansen (Bryson Cone, Fog Father). Together they make charming, airy, lo-fi pop music.
Opening track “29 Palms” kicks off FM-2030 with tuneful synth and Bambi’s angelic vocals, which bring honey to even the saddest lyrics—in this case, about being alone in a new city. Same goes for “666 Bus,” where the rather macabre lines “Maybe I’ll get hit by a bus while I was dreamin’ of falling in love/Or maybe I’ll fall in love and die of a broken heart” couldn’t sound sweeter.
Reptaliens’ tenderness gives them an edge. Certain moments on FM-2030 recall bands like Beach House or Broadcast, especially on “If You Want” and “These Days,” where rhythmic grooves bubble under Bambi’s instrumental voice.
Another standout happens to be one of the first tracks Reptaliens ever released: “Nunya” is mellow but hypnotizing, flowing dreamily into the latter half of the album. Upon first listen, “Forced Entry” seems like yet another pop delight, but something sinister lurks beneath the surface—it’s about a serial killer who breaks into a home and murders a family.
“Dreaming” has a slinky bass line that gives way to the song’s kaleidoscopic groove, before reaching the album closer “Ubik.” It’s short and minimalist in comparison to the rest of FM-2030, but ends the album on a high note.
Though Reptaliens’ debut doesn’t reinvent the wheel, their take on psychedelic pop with sci-fi influences is an intriguing first glance at a promising new band.