Although it’s been available in their native Ireland for several months now, Dublin’s FIGHT LIKE APES finally get to unleash their wild, and let’s be honest, slightly mental second album in the UK. Snippets have wound their way across the Irish Sea and the album was also nominated for the Choice Music Award (Ireland’s equivalent of the Mercury Prize) so we know pretty much what to expect. And that’s exactly what we get here.
I must say, I’d love to be able to sit in on the band meetings when they decide the song titles and subject matter. Where it all comes from, I just don’t know. The album of course is called ‘The Body Of Christ And The Legs Of Tina Turner,’ and contains such similarly styled song titles as: ‘Pull Off Your Arms And Let’s Play In Your Blood;’ ‘Kathmandu (Face It, You’re Caviar, I’m Hotdogs);’ ‘Thank God You Weren’t Thirsty (Lightbulb);’ and ‘Waking Up With Robocop.’
To some, this may smart of a band trying too hard to capitalise on the almost comic-strip, zany impression created by their debut album, ‘Fight Like Apes And The Mystery Of The Golden Medallion.’ There’s a danger that some may interpret this ‘wackiness’ as a diversion from the music – a means of attention-seeking (“look at us… we’re wacky; we’re mental. Aren’t we a laugh…?”)
NAH! No danger …seriously, this is just the way FIGHT LIKE APES are!
Musically, this album seems a bit more ‘controlled’ than the first, which is perhaps down to the production skills of Andy Gill (Gang of Four.) There’s more of a ‘depth’ to it all, but without losing that unique FLA sound. The synth and keyboards do battle around Maykay’s distinctive voice, which ranges at times from sensuous and enticing to deranged and homicidal.
Their fondness for a cult TV and ‘B-movie’ style remains with several tracks featuring film dialogue at the outset, which all adds to the almost cartoon-like image of the band. Which is a good thing. Lightyear, a band from a few years back, were similar in this respect although they used a trumpet and trombone to bolster their sound rather than the synths and effects pedals. (In fact, ‘Waking Up With Robocop,’ one of my favourite tracks on the album is very much in the Lightyear mould.)
Although several of the songs have dark undertones and a kind of spiteful nastiness about the lyrics, in the majority of cases they come across as rather ‘simple;’ like nursery rhymes for adults I’d suggest.
It’s all gloriously trashy pop with menace – but it’s more than just the songs. I think FIGHT LIKE APES have to be taken as a complete audio / visual package. Their stage shows are wild and as I’ve said, they have this kind of cartoon aura about them. It’s hard to explain, so here’s a video to go with the streamed album track above.
Hopefully you’ll get the picture.
(Released through Model Citizen Records on 25th April 2011)