Fight Like Apes - Live at Eurosonic

Richard Wink 24/02/2010

Rating: 3.5/5

Irish irreverence comes through in spades throughout Fight Like Apes' Eurosonic set. The band is made up of the kind of people you may have met in art school common rooms. The quirky types who would perform dramatic poetic tributes to Macho Man Randy Savage, and hum the theme tune to Ground Force as they gaily skipped through the corridors. On occasion their post-Boosh shenanigans might raised a small half boon smile, on another day you'd dryly put them down by courteously saying “Fuck off, you annoying prats”.

Entertaining, effervescent alt-pop. That sums up FLA in a nutshell. Frantic, synthesized putty punk hullaballoo with frontwoman Mary-Kate Geraghty playing the mischievous onstage pixie. A chuckle is raised when she deadpans “I can see you all, you all have hands. So you can just clap them for a few seconds. Ok?” The pacing of the record, interspersed with onstage banter between Geraghty and her fellow band members sucks you in, straps you down and takes you on a ride. Highlights include Tie Me Up With Jackets and Battlestations which ends the set in triumph.

Tracks such as Jake Summers (a reference to a bad ass character in teen sitcom California Dreams which I recall had a theme song that started “Surf dudes with attitude / kinda groovy / laid back moods”, in fact such obscure pop culture references bring me back to the gloriously bad, but oddly watchable Peter Engel produced teen shows that I watched as a kid, seriously if you're currently hating on Gossip Girl and Glee which are actually intelligent, reasonably well written shows, then you should count your lucky stars you didn't grow up with clichéd cack such as Hang Time and USA High) which stirs the hornets' nest and the prickly Lend Me Your Face also come across especially well, whereas in contrast to the studio recordings of these songs which sound unspectacular, the live recording adds flavour to what otherwise might be considered throwaway songs.

The problem facing Fight Like Apes is that they sit in a toy box with bands such as Art Brut, at times you want them to get them out, play and cheer you up, but other days you won't even give them the time of day, because their humour can annoy, and at times even grate. I guess that's part of the act, a little bit of petulance and playful obnoxiousness, but plenty of fun.