Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Best of 2008: #8. Fight Like Apes - Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion

Another discovery by way of Hardcore for Nerds. Fight Like Apes took the independent Irish music scene by storm last year through their dual EP releases David Carradine is a Bounty Hunter… and How Am I Supposed to Kill You If You Have All the Guns? On their first full-length album, they don’t cover a whole lot of new ground - only half of the recorded songs are new, and their best songs are available on previous releases - but for anyone who missed the hype the first time around (like me), this album should prove to be an enjoyable introduction to the synth-pop madness of this Dublin foursome.

What Fight Like Apes manufacture on Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion is a refreshing bit of pop nihilism, filled to the brim with stream of consciousness-style lyrics, catchy melodies, and a healthy use of electronics. The songs most well-accounted for here are the kind of fun, fast-paced manic absurdity that the group has made their calling-card. This is seen on tracks like "Jake Summers" and "Do You Karate?", which come off like the musical equivalent of the non-sequitur, a destructive kind of anti-pop that will stay in your head for days. Other tracks, like "Lumpy Dough", take on a slower, more atmospheric tone, almost coming off as a kind of delicate synth balladry, while still being imbued with the same sarcastically naive charm that is present throughout this album.

By combining pop accessibility with punk attitude, Fight Like Apes have made an album that appeals to more than just a dedicated local cadre of indie buffs, but to any number of potential fans that await their offbeat approach across a wider UK audience; which is practically a shame, considering the bented satire of the collaboration between music and marketing that appears on this very album ("Something Global"). Make no mistake about it - this is pop music, but with a loutish noisiness to it that seems to be rebelling against its own accessbility. But it IS accessible, it IS catchy, and really, it's all the better for it.

What I just can't figure out is how such ostensibly throwaway music could be so good - more than just enjoyable, but actually resonant for months afterwards. For anyone looking for a hook: here it is.


gabbagabbahey said...

they're up for de big Irish music prize: http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/ontherecord/2009/01/14/heres-the-choice-music-prize-shortlist/

odds of 9/2 from Paddy Power bookmakers to win.

good review, by the way.

cretin said...

i know nothing of the people deciding this award and their leanings, or even the the competition for the most part, but i would take those odds.

twenty dollars worth. running.