On an icy Friday night in South Williamsburg, fans quickly packed Baby’s All Right – a super hip bar/restaurant/venue that has an evident love of light wall art. Even though the venue is on the smaller side, it couldn’t have been a more perfect spot for Reputante — comprised of James Levy, Jimmy Giannopoulos, Raviv Ullman and Emiliano Ortiz. Reputante’s music is absorbing, and there’s no better way to listen to it than being crammed and sweating against the person standing next to you.
Reputante at Baby’s All Right
Reputante is the brainchild of James Levy – who already has quite the impressive resume with an endless list of musical projects. Fans were not only treated to Reputante, but also his other current project, LOLAWOLF, where he plays backing bass.
For only being around about a year, Reputante took the stage dominantly and brought a polished sound. It was if they’ve been playing together for years. One could say it’s been sort of a whirlwind for the band, as they were signed to Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records last year and have since began slowly exploding into the indie music scene.
It makes sense that Julian would find these guys; some say there is a Strokes-ish sound to their music, however, I actually find them more reminiscent of Julian’s solo album, Phrazes for the Young. The 80s-inspired beats, synth sounds, genius lyrics, and electronic drums that make up Julian’s album can similarly be found on Reputante’s EP, Oceanside.
Moreover, Reputante brings a whole new dimension – upbeat synth pop mixed with somewhat eerie vibes; but what takes it to a new level is Levy’s personal, romantic lyrics. It’s also hard not to be completely absorbed by Levy’s vocals. They are deep and somewhat low-key, but extremely powerful. In a way, I’m reminded of The Nationals’ Matt Berninger and the late Lou Reed – the monotone vocals that are frighteningly prevailing.
Reputante tore through songs off Oceanside, including the mellow but upbeat “Lock Me Up,” the poppy “Safe ‘N Sound,” and the current single “Deep Set Eyes.” As infectious as the beats are, the lyrics are so compelling and romanticized; it’s hard to decide if you want to go tear up in the corner or dance obnoxiously (both meant in the best way possible).
Reputante makes the kind of music that will get stuck in your head for days (it’s true, it still is). I went to the show with a friend who normally isn’t in to their style of music, yet they admitted to me after the show “Damn, they were good.” I wished their set could’ve ran longer, but with just a 5-song EP, there wasn’t much more they could do.
For now, we’ll just all sit here and wait for a full-length LP. Between Levy’s many side projects, it’s hard to predict the band’s future, but with Reputante’s florescent vibes, Levy’s captivating vocals, and Casablancas’ namesake attached, there’s nothing but a bright future ahead for these guys.
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Article by Erika Reinsel