Rebuild/Repair at war with stupid

Rebuild/Repair GigCity EdmontonWe can argue about the dumb things the City of Edmonton does until we’re blue in the face – but sometimes all it takes is a song to cut through the BS.

Such a song is Suicide Fence by the band Rebuild/Repair, referring to the anti-suicide barriers installed on the High Level Bridge that screwed up bicycle traffic. Suicide Fence can be found on the band’s new album Above Ground Cemeteries. (UPDATE June 21, 2017): The band plays Friday, June 23 at DV8.

Singer Randall Graves delivers his rant at the level of an angry shout over roaring hardcore-metal riffs: “Do you think that this fence will stop me?! Do you think I haven’t thought this through?!”

The 33-year-old singer isn’t so angry in a recent interview. He explains, “I’m not against the fence, but without money being spent on mental health services, it shifts the problem off city property. It doesn’t solve the problems with suicide and depression and whatnot, it just says: ‘Don’t jump off our bridge. Do it at home.’”

Another possibly controversial – and also angry song – is called Burn Edmonton to the Fucking Ground. It’s list of civic woes set to music, and the solution in the title of the song. Of course it’s satire.

Rebuild/Repair GigCity EdmontonGraves says the song was inspired by the new hockey arena, “spending a whole bunch of money on a profitable business when there’s so much else to be done in this city.” He also talks about Leamington Mansions in Westmount that burned down a year ago. It had been declared a heritage building, and then it was gone, “And condo builders had a miraculous plan for condos to go up there,” Graves adds. A photo of the ruins is on the cover of the new CD.

Don’t get them wrong. Rebuild/Repair loves Edmonton; this band was born from the scene; its eclectic sound fits into the spirit of experimentation – combining classic punk rock with heavy metal, bouncing between doomy sludge and ferociously fast, with cutting commentary both personal and political. A new song called Cheap Real Estate also speaks to both themes.

“The thing that comes up a lot is a pattern of self-destructive behaviour,” Graves says. “You make the same mistakes, you realize you’re doing them and you feel helpless to stop it.”

City Council, take note.

Graves says he doesn’t think band’s music is that controversial – coming from the point of view of the angry Edmontonian.

“I think there’s stuff on the record that even if you really love this place, you can relate to,” he says. “I’ve kind of grown frustrated with a lot of things in Edmonton – because I live in it and I want it to be better. It’s frustrating to see stupid things make it worse.”

Top photo by Bobbi Barbarich