I’ve been a fan of Fight Like Apes for a while now; their first album ‘Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion’ was one of my favourites of 2008. Its mixture of synth hooks, fuzzy guitars and lead singer May Kay’s wonderful ability to switch from huskily whispering her words to screaming. It’s endearing, enjoyable - and there’s something sincere about them that makes the refrain of “and did you fuck her? and did you stick things up her?” (from ‘Digifucker’) enjoyable for more than its barefaced rudeness.
So when I discovered they had another album due out, I wasn’t really sure what to think…the energy from their first album might well have petered out by now, three years after their first full album. Luckily, however, Fight Like Apes far from disappoint.
The first single, Hoo Ha Henry maintains the sense of comedy FLA are renowned for, particularly through their use of samples, but it manages this without losing the quality of the song. The contrast of the ‘traditional views’ in these samples and the attitude of Fight Like Apes makes for even more enjoyable listening. The same technique is used to great effect on the next track ‘Pull Off Your Arms and Let’s Play In Your Blood’ which I’ve already seen quoted in several reviews: the line “my well read friends inform me that I was a cunt” seems to be striking a chord with people.
‘Thank God You Weren’t Thirsty (Lightbulb)’ is a brief pause, it’s a genuinely beautiful track and May Kay does something a little different with her voice, making it softer. She begs, “my heart is all grey, please, please stay away, from anyone’s heart or their brain…would that be okay?” and even after the screams and almost indistinguishable swear words towards the end (well, it is Fight Like Apes, let’s not get too sentimental) there’s something tender here and another side is shown. A welcome change from the anger and elements of triviality normally seen, not a criticism as they do it well, but it would certainly be interesting to see them try this on a couple more tracks.
On ‘Poached Eggs’ (released before the album as a free download as well) FLA are masking their rudeness and behaving with more subtlety (but only a little bit). May Kay’s coquettish way of singing “I’m sorry for being so incredibly gay, the day you spilt your poached efforts, all over my duvet” means it takes a couple of listens to be certain what she’s singing about. . ‘Indie Monster’ gifts another lyrical gem, the repetition of “you look like a hairstyle” and ‘Ice Cream Apple Fuck’ sums up the band’s approach simply, with the line “I will not take your shit”
’The Body Of Christ…’ is a glorious mix of Riot Grrl, pop, punk, humour and authenticity. It’s messy at times, but that adds to its charm and there’s a little more cohesion than on the first album. Its difficult to shake the feeling that no matter how you feel, Fight Like Apes like what they’ve done and (I’m hoping at least) will continue to do what they do, and frankly won’t give a damn.