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Savage Republic

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Album Review

From: NorEastern Zine July 2002

Savage Republic -- Four Disk Boxed Set


I had no idea what to expect when this arrived in the post box. At first sight, the packaging alone blew my mind with its heavy inked, card board cases and stellar art work. A box set of a band I never heard of before? What was I missing here? Apparently a great deal. Savage Republic has been around since at least the early eighties, playing some of the most unique post-punk long before that term even existed. My god, these reissues have everything from noisy angst ridden politically charged numbers to instrumental, avant-garde noise; from borderline new wave pieces to a whole lot of Arab/Mediterranean influenced works. I am a complete sucker for those sounds. Everything from lightning fast flamenco guitar runs to singing, that sounds like morning prayers on a loudspeaker, waking Cairo at dawn are on these records. Where the fuck have I been not to have heard this before? This was so amazingly head of its time.

For you newbies like me, this four disk boxed set includes the releases Jamahiriya Democratique, Ceremonial, Trudge, Tragic Figures and my favorite for the moment, Customs. To be overwhelmed by this musical history lesson is a bit humbling for me. It just proves I don't know jack shit when it comes to the roots of the music I listen to today. The list of bands that should name Savage Republic as an influence
could span the globe three times over. Shellac, Zeni Geva, Polvo... the list could run on and on. And I thought Ash Bowie was clever using Arab influence in his guitar playing. These guys were doing it when he was still watching Sesame Street. If you listen to a lot of the music we cover in this publication, you owe it to yourself to get smart and pick up something by one of the true pioneers of art
punk. Savage Republic is reportedly playing a reunion show in San
Francisco at the Beyond the Pale festival, November 14-18, 2002.

Book your flights now. (Mobilization) --JD

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