Review Summary: Fugazi's weakest release, but still a great example of their early sound. "Maybe it was time to smash things up"
"Repeater" is,when compared to the record that came before it (13 Songs),a more aggressive outing. Fugazi was building more on their punk sound than their dub sound, and while the change isn't extreme, it is certainly noticeable. "Repeater" is Fugazi's second outing and while the band certainly made quite the impression with "13 Songs", lots of critics will tell you "Repeater" is the finest of the early Fugazi work. In my personal opinion, I think it is perhaps as an album the weakest Fugazi release because of the unchanging sound of it. Where "13 Songs" was able to switch between aggressive and passive hardcore songs, "Repeater" seems to be the most plainly aggressive Fugazi album. Sonically, they are sticking to textbook examples on how to be aggressive and it just sounds dull when compared to their future "revolutionary" sound
I've certainly already painted "Repeater" in a negative light, which isn't necessarily fair. This album is much better than half of the hardcore albums I've heard, and it certainly has its highlights. "Blueprint" certainly sticks out as a great blend of traditional Picciotto vocals, and a throbbing instrumental attack. "Two Beats Off" is a palm-muted ballad, with Picciotto crooning like a sick Iggy Pop. "Styrofoam", a classic example of Ian MacKaye's impeccable ability to put passion behind any line, even if it is, "We release our poisons like Styrofoam". The best song on the album is in my opinion the closer "Shut the Door" which is a highly repetitive, but extremely hypnotic MacKaye track that is probably a Fugazi staple due to its appearance in the DVD "Instrument". The production on "Repeater" is probably also the worst in their career, with Canty's drums sounding way too compressed and the how album just sonically sounding very dated.
Like all Fugazi release, "Repeater" is extremely enjoyable and, had the band not gone on to have a career that lasted another ten years, it would certainly be an impressive album. But, because of Fugazi's advancement over their long lasting career, "Repeater" just seems like a shoddy impression of what is to come.