Performed with the personality with which it is imbued.
Keira Burgess 2009-01-22
Dublin four-piece Fight Like Apes debut their profanity and insanity on an album named by Mr T, embellished by B movie audio-bites and featuring riot girrl attitude, without the guitars.
A list of influences including Pavement, Sonic Youth, Apples In Stereo and Talking Heads seems to have little evident bearing on their material, but does give an indication of the eclectic tastes and wandering minds of those who produced it.
In places, including opener Something Global, the album is sonically similar to the power pop work of the Avrils and Mileys of the world (an aspect not helped by vocalist Mayday's tendency to occasionally adopt an American sounding accent), but lyrically these songs are thankfully the antithesis of the fluff churned out by the aforementioned vapid teen conveyer belt.
Produced in Seattle by John Goodmanson, whose prolific back-catalogue includes work with Bikini Kill, the album definitely has riot girrl attitude running through its heart. Single Lend Me Your Face, for example, is a violent ode to a former lover.
Mayday's ability to comically nail life's minutiae is reminiscent of Louise Werner in her heyday, although perhaps less subtle: the brashly titled Digifucker boasts the lyric, ''I like to toast things all the time'', a sentiment similar to that of Sleeper's heroine Pyromaniac who sweetly requested, ''throw me your matches, 'cos I like to burn stuff''. Similarly, the vehemence and velocity of Do You Karate? is akin to the work of Ash in their own days as axe-wielding cult fanboys.
The vocals can occasionally grate: high pitched screaming from the front-woman and backing yelps from the boys could be mistaken for a toddler mid-tantrum and teenage brawl respectively, but this could easily have been the effect they were aiming for. At other times, the quirks are the essential ingredient in the mix: Recyclable Ass is made by its whoops and argumentatively delivered, shouty chorus.
Weird, unashamed, funny and charmingly untainted by self-censorship, the re-recording and high production levels on these songs may even be responsible for detracting from their raw impact. One suspects that this album is best stripped of its perfection and performed with the personality with which it is imbued.