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Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Gold Medallion

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Album Review

Following the release of two well-received D.I.Y. EPs, B-movie-loving Dublin synth-punk act Fight Like Apes took their time choosing the right producer for their full-length debut. They found him in the form of John Goodmanson, the Seattle producer who cut his wares with the likes of the Blood Brothers and Blonde Redhead, and Goodmanson's pristine touch is clearly in evidence here. More polished and refined than the EPs, Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion (named in honor of an obscure Mr. T movie) skillfully walks the grey area between mainstream and underground, spit-shining frontwoman May Kay's effortless pop smarts without losing sight of their zany outsider appeal. Lead single "Something Global" is the most straightforward song on the record, a deliciously cynical romp about being asked to write a hit song, as Kay sings, "hooks are for wimps, and choruses for gays/so 'give me my hook' they call out to the stage." Follow-up single "Jake Summers" is the biggest casualty of the transition from EP to album: sitting a top a lilty Kim Deal-inspired bassline, its chorus (loosely aimed at a well-known teen soap star of old) is designed to be yelled from the rooftops, but the track itself is so neatly compressed that the effect is almost completely lost. The mixing is slightly jarring throughout the CD — some of the busier tracks boast three and four distorted and clean synth tracks, and they don't always mesh well — but the songwriting is strong enough to overcome many of these complaints, and more adventurous tracks like "Snore Bore Whore" and "Lumpy Dough" suggest that there are more twists to come in the Fight Like Apes story.


Formed: 2006 in Dublin, Ireland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Fight Like Apes are a synth pop/alternative rock group formed in Dublin, Ireland, in 2006. Taking influence from sources as diverse as alt-rock luminaries Pixies, Welsh underground punk legends Mclusky, and the short-lived teen sitcom California Dreams, Fight Like Apes' music is defined by sharply distorted synths, the complete absence of guitars, and singer Maykay's shrill tones and pop culture-referencing lyricism. Their brash pop sensibilities have seen them likened to U.K. acts Los Campesinos!...
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