What already? It seems like only the blink of an eye since Fight Like Apes‘ debut album emerged to a largely positive response. Since then they have been everywhere, finding a new audience outside of Ireland in a way not seen from a domestic band in years. And with that comes the usual commercial pressures of combining constant live work with the call for new product. The answer? The old limited edition special version ploy.
To be fair to the Apes – or more accurately, their record company – have navigated around the problems of morals and ethics by making the bonus disc available separately, which means we can approach this with a clear conscience and take the music as it stands. The album itself needs no introduction but safe to say that it still stands up, not always an easy task for a flavour of the month release.
So what of the collection of B sides, rarities and remixes? The worry with Fight Like Apes is always that they will find the balance of noise and melody too difficult an act and topple off the tight rope into the abyss of novelty. If that was ever going to happen, then tracks not deemed good enough to make it onto a full release would seem the place. Thankfully there’s very little of that. The fish and chips refrain on ‘Canhead’ is a touch annoying for sure and ‘Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues’ works best as a live experience, but generally this is good stuff. ‘Knucklehead’ is the highlight, a track that in hindsight should surely have made the album, while the newer stuff – ‘Telephone The Real Ham Jackson’ and ‘This Is Like The Time Jody Didn’t Know What Cunnilingus Was’ (they like their odd titles, don’t they?) – are fine combinations of menace and melody. A couple of remixes round things off, the band’s own reworking of ‘Snore Bore Whore’ that strips most of the backing away and a killer Jape mix of ‘Battlestations’, all electro and dance floor friendly. As these things go then, Fight Like Apes have got away with it by whit of the quality of the material on offer and the method of delivery, but this really does need to be the end of the first chapter. We’re looking forward to the next one already.