I like to think of Alfred Molina staring at Benedict Cumberbatch, delivering some iconic “Hello Khan” moment, then handing over a copy of Multiverse. Off in the distance is a very confused looking emo Tobey Maguire, next to him Topher Grace is eating a soft pretzel.
While I’m sure that’s not exactly the sentiment sci-fi inspired, cult synth-pop duo Cole and Bambi Browning envisioned, Reptaliens’ latest release Multiverse does achieve a sense of expansive reflection within the walls of ones own imagination.
As we’ve all had to over the last few years, Reptaliens had to adjust their perspective with their latest. Their third release is a drifting, echoing journey laced with rolling hills of bass, carved by distorted guitar effects, illuminated by upbeat, snare-driven beats. Through the fog of distorted ambiance, atop the rolling green hills, are massive platforms drilling deep into the core of the Multiverse, mining copious amounts of nostalgia through the veins of mid-to-late-90s alt-rock. The collective becomes a dreamscape melting each of the ten tracks into one another, each with their own hooky licks and lyrics, but best exemplified by “Do You Know You Are Sleeping?” The record feels like a dream we are familiar with, yet only looking in from the outside. Met with direct lyrics and a vein of common sentiment throughout, it lingers deeply with us long after it is over.
Reptaliens sets the controls for success in their own Multiverse. Where lyrically coming closer to the forefront, Reptaliens shift to the margins instrumentally. The record’s sound settles comfortably into a diffused prism reaching out into a tonally thick cloud. The trajectory, and a narrative of reflecting on our current state, becomes more a more finely misted endeavor sonically than we’d experienced with 2017’s FM-2030 or 2019’s VALIS.
While I’m unsure if there’s some 25-year-old playing a high schooler (looking at you Holland) out there trying to mess with the universe by lacking specificity, Reptaliens is not lacking the direction they want to go. This Multiverse is one of cerebral introspection wearing a veil of simplicity, soaring on a cloud of comfort and familiarity. Unbeknownst to me when I first hit play, it is precisely how 2022 needed to start.