London band National Service released their latest track on Friday. ‘Repeater’ is a boisterous, yet atmospheric song and follows a wave of previous critically acclaimed work.
This new one opens with an echoing lead vocal from Fintan Campbell pacing alongside a brain rattling bass line. Campbell’s vocals instantly present parallels with Sundara Karma. Early on, the tune adopts this sort of stalking, low drive before erupting at the minute mark with surging guitars and a stirring chorus.
‘Repeater’ initially strikes as a perfect song for late night listening. Music for the witching hour, where the thoughts are swirling. It holds that sort of haunting gravity – especially with an explosive chorus a minute in. It takes a little while to evolve into this ethereal beast. You know the breakout is coming, it's just a matter of when. It's like slowly riding a rollercoaster’s peak through a dense mist. Add to that jinking, almost malevolent guitars and National Service create a dark and enthralling soundscape.
The band looked back on their writing process for ‘Repeater’:
“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 and we’re afraid we’d end up with a load of songs that were formulaic and uninspired. Repeater was the fourth ‘round robin’ we did.
The simplicity, and forthright, unencumbered approach to writing was what really got us going. That’s what really inspired the chorus. We just wanted to keep smashing at the same four chords and write a pop-tastic melody over the top.”
National Service formed in 2015 before a changed line up in 2017 led to a successful era. Singer Campbell and guitarist Iain Kelly who had met at university back in 2009, were now joined by drummer Matthew Alston. That year, they signed to legendary indie label Fierce Panda and their first single ‘A Little More Time’ received a good reception.
The follow-up ‘Timid Kisses’ was BBC 6 Track Of The Week and was featured as ‘Steve Lamacq’s National Anthem’. ‘Repeater’ follows yet another solid track ‘Milktooth’ and looks likely to turn critics’ heads in no time.