Nov 21, 2022
By Caleb Campbell
This year, UK indie group National Service have been emerging from their quiet period during the pandemic, returning with distorted and aggressive new edges to their style of indie rock. The band debuted in 2018 with their EP, Foreign Love, and followed the next year with their second EP, Meltwater. Next year, they’re set to return with their third EP, and they have been teasing it with a pair of singles, “Milktooth” and “Repeater.” Today, they’ve followed up with an accompanying video for “Repeater,” premiering with Under the Radar.
“Repeater” encapsulates both the band’s raucous alt rock aesthetics and sharp pop instincts, blending them into a concentrated dose of distorted indie rock hooks. The track’s opening moments are colored by shimmering guitar riffs and nervy rhythms, steadily ratcheting up the tension over top of a danceable bass groove until the band jumps into the explosive heights of the chorus. The track is one of the band’s most massive, dynamic, and distorted, but it is also equally one of their most instantly catchy efforts yet, capturing a hazy and intoxicating combination.
The band says of the track, “At the start of the first lockdown back in about June 2020, we started a ‘Round Robin’ to freshen up our writing and get out of a bit of a slump. We’d been using the same writing formula for years, but we were conscious that if we didn’t mix up the writing process, we’d end up with a load of songs that were formulaic and uninspired. We took it in turns to write a fully formed part, with a verse, chorus, bridge and maybe a pre/post chorus idea too, then we’d pass it to the next person who’d write their lines on top. ‘Repeater’ was the 4th Round Robin we did.
The simplicity, and forthright, unencumbered approach to writing was what really got us going, and that’s what inspired the chorus really. We just wanted to keep smashing at the four chords and write a pop-tastic melody over the top. Obviously, we roughed it up with some fuzz guitar and a killer guitar line from Iain, but essentially it’s a pop-chorus. The sound is worlds apart, but harmonically and melodically, it’s always reminded me of MGMT funnily enough. In terms of the verses, it’s just straight up hip-hop. Matt’s drums, mixed with our old bass player’s line just make me want to bop my head and two step – this had a big impact on the melody and phrasing of the vocals.
The overarching driver of everything was that the whole song hammered from start to finish with a palpable sense of cathartic release. We wrote, recorded, mixed and produced it all ourselves too, so although the process was unique, it’s a big slice of National Service through and through.”
Check out the song and video below, out everywhere now.