Review ·

The U.S. debut EP from Fight Like Apes is a pick 'n' mix selection of the group's equally verbosely titled releases from the other side of the Atlantic. The songs are clearly chosen to showcase the diversity and versatility of the synth-punk quartet's sound. The five tracks show the Apes brimming with ideas as they rush from puerile pop to outright noise -- all in just over ten minutes.

 

With the abrupt and abrasive opener, "Lend Me Your Face," we are introduced to the Dubliners' driving punky pop and to frontwoman MayKay's vocal range. It veers from screechy to shouty, occasionally touching on melodic, yet all the while remaining venomous: "I wanna cut you with glass, you haven't got such a pretty ass now," she sneers.

 

The childish blimps and keyboards take a backseat on "Lightsabre Cock Sucker Blues" as the Apes brandish their adult punk-rock stripes. MayKay does a Karen O, and against an aggressive barrage of guitars, drums and bass, snarls, "I'm aching from fucking too much." The schoolyard chant of "Knucklehead" sees the tempo slowing down and MayKay's lyrics taking a turn for the nonsensical. "You're looking like a rack of lamb and talking like a caravan." Her first foray into what could be considered tuneful singing is marred by a spluttering, hoarse-male accompaniment. MayKay's voice is what sets the Apes apart from all of the other kids with keyboards, and it's a shame to see it swamped. "Canhead" suffers from the same problem. It's a nonsensical nursery rhyme -- "Goodness me, it's fish and chips" -- set to a tight Atari-inspired, cheery synth arrangement, spoiled by pointless boorish male vocals.  

 

Then, just as things seem to take a step too far toward silly, disposable pop, the Apes hit with an unexpected punch. They close the EP with a simple, sincere version of the last track on their LP. The spherical mix of "Snore Bore Whore" cuts a good three minutes from the original, stripping the song of the chaotic samples, rhythm section, shouts and screams, leaving melancholy vocals over a simple synth melody. MayKay's venom is still there but it has been stifled: "I saw my successor yesterday and I smiled cause she looks like a cow." And for the first time on the EP she seems vulnerable: "But none of that matters, 'cause she's been your cow for a while./ There's something she does that makes you smile." It's enough to make you listen to this whirlwind of an EP again and think that perhaps these Apes are worth watching.

 

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