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Repeat - You Would Know (Torbjörn Hallberg)

24 January 2024

Repeat is one of those bands that, while not being strictly punk themselves in the classic, conventional sense, seem to have embraced and elaborated on everything punk was founded on. Just listen to “You Would Know,” for proof, a song built on walls of abrasive guitars, brilliantly repetitive rather than disenfranchised lyrics, and that same blend of muscle and melody, grind and groove that the punks pushed slightly too far toward the former and not enough to the latter.

It’s the sound of what punk could have been if those involved had spent less time playing dress-up and admiring themselves in the mirror and more time learning to write songs; that’s why punk was, in its initial incarnation at least, so short-lived.

But if punk didn’t survive, at least the spirit and echo of the sonic boom punk did, and it can be heard in bands such as Repeat. It is that essence, that feeling of attitude and swagger, of power and angst, that drives their music in general and this song in particular. It is the engine room that gives the energy to the hypnotic lyrics and raw guitars, pounding drums, and propulsive bass lines. It is the glue that holds the sound together, making for a simple yet brilliantly effective sonic onslaught, which is all rock music ever needed to be about in the first place.

There are still those who think generic labels matter, and they can fight over whether “You Would Know” is hard, heavy, alternative, or stoner rock or perhaps belongs to some other made-up genre. All I hear is the spirit of punk being kept alive at a time when that revolutionary spirit is needed more than ever.