Never mind the monkey business, here’s The Ape – possibly the most fun you’ll have with an Australian rock album this year. Quit your moping and crack one open.
With a pedigree of bands like Magic Dirt, Dallas Crane and the similarly animalistic Beasts of Bourbon running through its veins, can you take a wild guess as to what you’re in store for with The Ape’s self-titled debut? That’d be a double shot of grizzled rock in a dirty glass, thanks. And don’t you dare put an umbrella in there.
The guitar gnashes and barks out of the speakers, the bass thunders away, the drums are strictly stomping and shaking… and that’s just within the first minute of opener ‘Mission’. Once Tex Perkins saunters up to the microphone, declaring himself (amongst many other things on the album) “a man on a mission,” all bets are off.
Of course, at this juncture it must be emphasised that just because this isn’t The Ape’s first collective rodeo, it doesn’t mean the material on offer is unimaginative or uninspired. Perkins alone arguably hasn’t sounded this comfortable rocking out since The Cruel Sea’s 2001 swansong, Where There’s Smoke.
Throughout each of the ten tracks on offer, the band delivers on whatever it’s set out to do within the song. Whether it’s the Stooges-borrowing jam ‘It’s No Fun’ or the brisk garage rock of ‘Don’t Need Nuthin’’, the quartet sounds as though they’ve been playing these tracks for years. They have a precision and a depth that are fitting of the members’ collective veteran status, and are bound to please anyone who’s even passingly enjoyed any of their former projects.
BY DAVID JAMES YOUNG
The Apeis out now through Ape Records