Fight Like Apes - The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner
Irish synth pop punk misfits Fight Like Apes latest offering The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner is a fantastic mess of energetic, loud and abrasive tracks, filled with all the attitudes of punk and the musical hooks of pop.
The band has been playing together since 2006 and have since released a number of successful EPs and their debut album Fight Like apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion. The band have received praise from all over the world and were named the fourth best Irish musical act of their generation by the Irish Times in 2009. Although the first album was criticized by some for its pull towards the mainstream after the uniquely individual sounds of the initial EPs, this second album sees the band stripping back to their roots. The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner has been produced by Andy Gill, who has worked in the past with Gang of Four, The Futureheads and the Young knives and his influence has greatly added to the band's sound, particularly with more emphasis on the lead vocals.
Musically, the simplicity of the album is superb. Clear simple riffs, with fun and incredibly necessary keyboard and synth notes, which add a playful and almost computer game sound to most of the tracks on the album. The song 'Jenny Kelly' demonstrates the great variety of sound we get from this record and Fight Like Apes' constant interchanging of genre, yet still with basic loud and proud dancey choruses. 'Pull off your arms and let's play in your blood', a title demonstrating the bands lack of PC and interest in the morbid includes the harsh but fair lyrics "I can;t keep writing songs about cutting you up", with the main riff almost having a Placebo sound to it. The positive tone of the album around its discussion of particularly morbid and horrid subjects is one of the unique aspects of the record. The band seems to reject guitars on most of the tracks, with to my delight, the bass rising in prominence along side the keyboards, synth and distinctive drumming.
'Hoo Ha Henry', one of my favourite tracks, the first to be released when the album launched in Ireland in 2010, has a great bassline and pop sound, while lyrically the lead singer demands that her lover was anyone else "someone like Jenny, Jonny, Billy or Todd/Jerry, Toddy, Ricky or Rod". The breaks in the track allows the amazing vocals of Mary-Kate Geraghty to shine, if we were in any doubt of her talent. The first few minutes of 'thirsty' are much more mellow; vocally quiet and lyrically subtle; this track changes the pace of the record, but for just a moment, as it eventually becomes an opportunity to scream and make lots of noise with a fantastic build up to the end of the song. Although brief, its prevents the album from suffering from the same pace throughout.
Without listening to the lyrics, the beauty of Mary Kate Geargthy voice in some tracks would be misleading., yet she can really belt, screaming and shouting on many of the heavier tracks on the record. Throughout the album her vocals are impressive, even when she isn't singing in her characteristically aggressive way. Her joint vocals with the band and notably keyboardist Jamie Fox, who sings on a number of tracks, are effective, particularly in 'Poached Eggs' where the band's male members shout in the choruses adding to the already forthright attitude of the album. Lyrically the tracks are self-involved and angsty, seeming to deal with the trials of young life; one night stands, break ups, social conformism and really hating someone. The last track on the album 'Ice Cream Apple Fuck' really sums up the overall tone of the record with its clearly hateful lyrics of those who "talk of social statues hopes" and the uncertainty of doing things your own way despite everyone else "you cant let them bog you down, you cant just pretend that everything will turn around".
There is something reassuringly nineties about this band, and this is surprisingly refreshing. I can't seem to easily compare Fight Like Apes to anyone, and nor do I want to. They have created a perfectly unique and outstanding record and I can't wait to seem them live this year.
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On paper, you wouldnât expect an in-store performance to be all that good of a gig, but Fight Like Apes managed to make the best of their album launch in Tower Records. It helped that it was at night (starting a bit after eleven and finishing at midnight, when the album went on sale), and that the back of the shop was packed with excited fans. Their set was all new material, with the sole exception of 'Snore Bore Whore, which the crowd sang along to at the top of their lungs, myself include... [read more]