Electric Power (Nine Mile Records)
Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, Fri., Nov. 23, 2018
High-wattage harmonies from the Reputations' frontline of Rockyanne Bullwinkel and Jenny Carson blast forth on melodically ferocious opening set "Tightrope" and "The Exciter," evidencing a squalling, upper-octave vocal ambition rarely heard in rock & roll these days. Imagine if Abba's Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad were possessed by the spirits of Sam & Dave. On the locals' sophomore LP, tracked at Memphis' historic Ardent Studios under the guidance of Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, the power soul sextet harnesses music's uplifting potential. On highlight "Out of Style," akin to an early Meatloaf-Jim Steinman composition, bassist/vocalist Justin Smith provides a lyrical antidote to the hopeless feelings that consume us. That anti-blues medicine also hits the spot on Bullwinkel's finest moment, "If the Spirit Don't Move You." The recently departed Seth Gibbs, who along with Rudy Spencer provides the Reps' bad-boy guitar sound, delivers Electric Power's most beautiful material: a reprise of Brother Machine favorite "Shake Me Baby" and the wondrous "Neighborhood."