Portland indie act Reptaliens contains a lot of contradictions. The band’s central songwriting team, husband and wife Cole and Bambi Browning, share a love story. They came together because of music, and Bambi says she finds marriage not unlike being in a band.
“You have to be really emotionally honest, open and vulnerable,” she says. “It’s really similar to being in any relationship, especially a romantic one.”
And, Cole adds: “It’s nice ’cause we’re always together. It’s kind of fluid — band life and outside life.”
Reptaliens come to Eugene behind their latest release, FM-2030, out now on Captured Tracks. And it’s here that more contradictions spring up.
The music on FM-2030 is light and airy, recalling romantically aloof French pop and gentle indie rock from bands like Belle and Sebastian: cloudy but also dreamy, cottony but also angular. Listen closely, Bambi Browning says, and you’ll hear a dark undertone to the music.
When writing lyrics, Browning says, “I like to get in the mind frame of someone who has a deep, life-altering discussion.” She finds inspiration in sci-fi, stalking, cult leadership, anything bizarre and different. “I want to crawl out of my skin!” she sings on “Simulation.”
Even the band’s name is a reference to the internet-fueled conspiracy theory that we’re all ruled by a secret race of lizard people.
Sometimes, Browning says, listeners are fooled by the band’s innocent exterior. “People will interpret the lyrics like, ‘This is a really cute love song!’” But she enjoys slipping a little vinegar into Reptaliens’ sweet cocktail.
Reptaliens play with Eugene’s Surfsdrugs and well-known Washington-state indie rocker Karl Blau 10 pm Saturday, Nov. 4, at Hi-Fi Music Hall Lounge; $5, 21-plus. — Will Kennedy