When you’ve got to write a review somewhere between five hundred and six hundred words long, bands such as Fight Like Apes, who clearly like to piss about with unnecessarily lengthy album titles, are a godsend. 2007 saw the release of two EPs, ‘How Am I Supposed To Kill You If You Have All The Guns?’ and ‘David Carradine Is A Bounty Hunter Whose Robotic Arm Hates Your Crotch’, and their current record follows up 2009’s first full-release, ‘Fight Like Apes And The Mystery Of The Golden Medallion’, sounding not only like an album you need to own, but also a cartoon adaptation of a cult eighties comic book which in turn was released as a platform game for the old Gameboy. You know, the big bulky grey one.
See? I’m about a quarter of the way through already, and that first paragraph was basically just a load of bollocks. Onto the actual music then, and I had the pleasure of seeing FLA live at The Cockpit in Leeds back in November 2008, during a promotional tour for the debut album. It is well over two years ago now, and I was off my tits – for lack of a better expression – but I remember being struck by the raw energy of both the music and the musicians themselves; lead singer and keyboardist Mary-Kate ‘MayKay’ Geraghty in particular grabbing attention by bursting into the crowd and screeching like some sort of evil goddess of music, dressed in what I seem to recall was an all-in-one leather catsuit-like outfit, although my drunken memory may be playing sexy tricks on me. I remember feeling both a little scared, and a little turned on.
That same pure energy is retained on their second full release, the rather blasphemous-sounding ‘The Body Of Christ And The Legs Of Tina Turner’. The album kicks off with the playfully raucous ‘Come On, Let’s Talk About Our Feelings’, before bursting into the synth-led ‘Jenny Kelly’, which co-incidentally is also the name of a girl I shared a house with during university. I very much doubt they’re singing about the same one though. Yeah Yeah Yeahs are an obvious influence, of which there are echoes both here and at various points throughout. This may be the cause or indeed the result of FLA having supported them over in Belfast a couple of years back, yet they are much more than a mere imitation of Karen O and the boys. Despite a title that may again raise a chuckle from the listener, ‘Pull Off Your Arms And Let’s Play In Your Blood’ distances itself a little from earlier material with a much stronger, fleshier sound, and perhaps hints at things to come for the band, with MayKay‘s seething lyrics a highlight here in particular; “My well-read friend informed me that I was a cunt / Well it’s her own cunting problem / It’s not my fucking problem I’m dumb”. I bet the teachers regularly had to wash her mouth out with soap as a kid.
The mood lightens with the playful ‘Hoo Ha Henry’, which sounds like a character destined to be loved by 2 to 4-year-old viewers of CBeebies across the country, before being followed by the wonderfully-named ‘Kathmandu (Face It, You’re Caviar, I’m Hotdogs)’, and I’ve certainly found myself in many a social situation where I’ve been the hotdog to a beautiful woman’s caviar. I don’t even like caviar anyway, so the joke is on them.
An intriguing feature of the album are the various obscure samples that punctuate the introductions of selected songs, a personal favourite of mine being the theme tune from a 1951 US Government civil defence film entitled ‘Duck And Cover’. What better way to highlight the dangers of inevitable nuclear disaster than with an animated turtle called Bert, I say. Where the hell the band came across this clip I do not know, but top marks to them for sticking it at the start of their track ‘Captain A-Bomb’. ‘Thank God You Weren’t Thirsty (Lightbulb)’ and ‘Indie Monster’ are the highlights during a slightly less energetic second half of the album which draws to a close with ‘Ice Cream Apple Fuck’, not the greatest of the twelve tracks on show here, but just about edging the ‘Best Song Title’ category.
Right, well I’ve just looked at the bottom of the screen and it turns out I’m well over the word count, and I blame this entirely on FLA for being so idiotic with their titles. I so however highly recommend their album though.
Written by Matthew Frederick