Savage Republic: Rock as Avant Trash

Savage Republic: Rock as Avant Trash

There’s a good reason to be relatively unfamiliar with Savage Republic. Firstly, the group was mostly active during the eighties, as a part of the post-punk LA thing that was going down. The fact that Savage Republic never trucked in anything approaching pop sucrose would be the second reason. And the most important reason? It seems that at any given moment, the band might turn in its Cabaret Voltaire styled noise for something off a Sun City Girls record. While those two tossed off references should be enticing, it’s pretty easy to imagine fans of one not being fans of the other.

Either way, Savage Republic’s first long playing album, 1982’s Tragic Figures winds up being more Bishop Brothers than British noise, but there’s a pretty wide leeway in the band’s music to fit just about anything in there. “Procession” could be a latter day Crass effort, all spoken word and simple backing music. Of course, the faux-Brit accent doesn’t disallow the comparison. But even the song’s interesting mélange of would-be industrial music and political, crust punk can work to define Tragic Figure’s sound.

A bit earlier in the album, “Machinery” arrives with its percussion sounding like it was nothing more than found metal objects being beaten for no other purpose than this song. The throw away nature of the percussion, as well wrought as it is, fits with the minimal guitar technique, shuttling back and forth between a few notes, allowing Jeff Long to offer up some good howling. This isn’t for everyone, but it seems like the LAFMS crowd should get it.