Somehow I missed the Savage Republic train all these years. Mind you, I doubt I’d have been ready for Tragic Figures when it came out in 1984 since I was more focused on Van Halen, Ratt, and Huey Lewis and the News, but still, somewhere over the course of the subsequent 30+ years I feel like they should have come into my orbit.
Tragic Figures was Savage Republic’s debut album, one that interestingly came out in multiple small batches in 1984/85, presumably due to its growing popularity. I believe each of the five vinyl editions that released during this period were sequentially numbered, with a total of just over 5,000 copies pressed. My copy is mid-4th edition, for whatever that’s worth from a sound quality standpoint.
Reviewers usually comment on Savage Republic’s tribal drum style, and it’s definitely a core feature of their sound. In fact it reminds me a bit of the early Bonemen of Barumba stuff, though the rest of Savage Republic’s feel definitely leans post-punk with the gloomy, alienated vocals. There’s an incessant intensity to their songs, a prime example of which is “Next to Nothing” which bores its way right into your brain. It’s almost like a tribal version of industrial, particularly on the B side, if that makes any sense at all (♠). I’ll definitely be giving this some more spins.
(♠) Note to self – it doesn’t.