Republica, by Republica
Reviewed by Tom Ross
Ready to Go! I assume that’s pretty much everyone’s first thought when they think of the band Republica; an anthem that was omnipresent on the radio stations of the time and bobs up every now and then in all sorts of odd places. But not for me, the first thing comes to my mind is my massive, early teen, self-confessed indie weirdo, crush on Saffron (the lead singer) but I promise I won’t let that sway my review, even if it does inform my bias towards bob haircuts (“Bob-bias”, if you will) to this day, He-Man is the best.
I was honestly a bit surprised to see this on the list of albums Craig picked; my over-arching view of Craig’s tastes has been a love of metal from his various reviews (definitely not plinky-plonky bongo stuff) but now I see bands like Mansun and eels making an appearance I can see why Republica might be here.
At the time, I was listening to the kinds music into which Republica broadly found themselves but they were on the periphery of what I would have bought myself, when it came to female fronted bands I was buying Elastica, Skunk Anansie and Garbage. In my head Republica were a slightly disposable pop rock that wasn’t edgy enough for edgy me. I approached the album with some trepidation. Below are my thoughts typed as I listen so it may come across as the unconnected thoughts of someone not in total control of their faculties, that’s because they probably are.
Republica starts with the unmitigated banger that is Ready to Go! Enough said, you know what it sounds like and if you think you don’t you’re probably wrong. If the album delivers enough solid tracks in that vein, I’m going to enjoy it.
So, is Republica “Ready to Go” or “waiting to end”?
Track 2, Bloke, starts like an old prodigy track breaking into a far more electronica/ rock experience than I was expecting, references to mega drives, I found myself bobbing along, I was enjoying it. The following few tracks all lure me into the same feeling, wow, I loved the nineties, the dance of that era was great! I haven’t even thought about Saffron’s bob for at least 10 minutes.
At this point I want to talk about Saffron’s signing style and delivery, as a south of London boy I enjoy the almost-mockney, sneering, semi-shouting and quite frank delivery; the duo Shampoo bobbed into my head but they were awful, Saffron is not doing that but there is something that made me think of Shampoo in there. The track Get Off , in which Saffron repeats that she “wants to get off with you” is like some form magic; if someone had described it and told me I would enjoy it I would have dismissed them as a fool, how wrong I would have been.
Picture Me is a slower affair, its alright, wait, am I now not enjoying this? She’s not sounding angry enough; “Tom, remember the bob, focus, it’ll be fine.”
Hold the phone! how had I forgotten Drop Dead Gorgeous? it starts… a broad grin spreads across my face… this song is shooting through my memories drawing all sorts of things out, a more guitar heavy track than the tracks preceding it, the cord changes are so 90’s indie. Pinnacle. Nostalgia. Reached! Not sure anything can top this. I’m going to YouTube to watch the video as soon as this album is over; I’m sure Saffron be looking a bit angry, curling her lip at the camera.
Out of Darkness is back to the electronica, with some mild ragga? Maybe? bobbing electronic chords, it flows seamlessly into the next track Wrapp which has those big beats I would have expect from Prodigy, its great but is incredibly brief at under 2 minutes.
Don’t You Ever continues the electronic with guitar fusion, its what I am now expecting from Republica. Similarly the penultimate track, Holly, fits the bill with more of a focus on guitar and a bit more range from Saffron’s bob than I’ve noticed in other tracks.
Now on to the final track; Republica is book ended by Ready to Go (not sure if that’s true of the original album). This is the “original UK mix” whatever that means, its more electronic but is the same song featured in adverts, sports events, bobs and movies that we know and love.
Honestly I feel like Ready to Go overshadows Republica and this final track drives it home. A quick google shows me an absolute bob load of remixes and versions of Ready to Go regularly released, sure it earns the band a few bob but I’m not sure if it undermines the rest of their work.
The standout track for me is Drop Dead Gorgeous, it’s circling my brain bob-stop. I’ll be bobbing it on my driving playlist for future nostalgia fueled singalongs.
7/10 bobs, and I’m pretty sure its not just because I had/regained a crush on Saffron. Bob.