Fight Like Apes first album, FLApes and The Mystery Of The Golden Medallion, was a great debut album brimming with energy, youthful exuberance, cocky bravado and genuinely funny, often cynical, reflections on life. You couldn't play it to your Granny, or your kids, and Jamie's own parents thought it was "Disgusting". MayKay sounded as petulant as Lydon and the songs sense of humour and power showed how you could inject a little fun back into a pedestrian rock panorama that was used to contemplating its own naval whilst listening to Coldplay, Radiohead or Arcade Fire.(I'm not averse to a little inward contemplation, but this album releases the over excited sugar loaded flailing child in you like no other). Like The Undertones, The Toy Dolls or The Sultans Of Ping before them FLApes showed you could use humour and wryly perceived observations to just as great effect as melancholic gravity. That was then.
The Body Of Christ And The Legs Of Tina Turner is now. It's not a bad album, but, I'm saddened to say, it's nowhere near as good as its predecessor. It does rather feel in the most part that this collection of songs were the ones that never made it in the final edit of the original album. There are exceptions, but too few. The opening two tracks are trying too hard to emulate the brilliant Something Global and Jake Summers, as if sequencing the songs in a similar order could somehow disguise their weaknesses. They are not in the same league. The opener 'Come On, Let's Talk About Our Feelings' is a social commentary on life lived out as though it were episodes of The Jeremy Kyle show. The synth strong back drop still sits spliced between the guitar and drum heavy beats to great effect but, when you've had Champagne you'd rather not settle for Cava. The latest single, 'Kenny Jelly', sees more effective use of hooky keyboard loops, bouncy bass lines and intermittently ludicrously fast velocity to effect a very catchy tune.(The videos quite funny too) Although repeated plays have softened my initial disappointment it still remains that from from here on in the album veers dangerously close to flat lining.
Mary-Kate and Jamie's "well read friends" can't save the spiteful and revenge fueled diatribe of 'Pull Off Your Arms And Lets Play In Your Blood', even if they are inspired to drop two 'c' bombs in as many sentences because of them. The time has long since past for an instruction to 'wash your mouths out with soap'. Next up is the album's first single 'Hoo Ha Henry'; a riotous mix of charged and frenzied sing-a-longs that act as MayKay's score as she searches for a better partner.........
"Can I spend tomorrow drinking cans in bed?
I'll spend tomorrow wishing you were someone else instead......
...anyone with heart disease,
anyone with short sleeves,
anyone prepared to tease a little more than you."
It is easy to see why it was chosen as the first single as the song is a fabulous representation of just how good Fight Like Apes can be. It's doesn't waste time, it's short sweet and packs a great punch. It leaves you wanting more, it showcases the bands forte in 2mins30secs...............but, it also serves to highlight the albums inconsistency.
'Kathmandu' , sounds like it could be a commentary on Chris Moyles, were you to substitute it for Kilimanjaro and although the strings are a nice aside they don't really sit well within the framework of TLOTTATBOC. The more affected and hurting vocal by Mary-Kate on 'Thank God You Weren't Thirsty' shares a Yeah Yeah Yeah's thread and act as a possible glimpse as to future more considered aspirations of the band. 'Captain A-Bomb' has some nice keyboard flourishes before 'Waking Up With Robocop' introduces some interesting dueted sequenes that in the end only serve as a reminder that it's Mary-Kate who should do all the vocals. 'Z + H5 Together at Last' and 'Ice Cream Apple F--k' close out the album with more synth and snare mixtures, shared vocal duties and either instrumental tempered restraint or unleashed pacey passion set to vitriolic outpourings.
Had 'The Legs Of Tina Turner And The Body Of Christ' been the first offering from FLApes there would probably have been a lot more love in the house, certainly mine. As it is I just can't mask the dissapointment. I still love the band, love what they do, love their first album and love their individuality in a sea of sameness. It's just that (Not wishing to sound like a school report here) I was expecting more from a band that I know are capable of so much more, and next time if you could drop the sound bites and film clips that introduce too many tracks, all the better.