Great Apes


Written by: PP on 27/12/2013 00:35:57

Appearing on many a best of 2013 list in the past few weeks has been Great Apes, a gruff, melodic, intimate punk rock band out of San Francisco, who just released their sophomore full length "Thread" a couple of months ago. They play the sort of FEST-friendly style of punk rock, which features a generally upbeat tempo but not entirely without forays into slower interpretations of the genre as well, and of course the quintessential halfway gravelly and scratchy vocals to add character on top of the instrumentation.

Sounds like a ton of basement style punk bands you've run into across the years in my reviews? Absolutely correct. Great Apes play a variation of the Hot Water Music style gravelly and emotional punk rock that's drenched in passion, catchy chords, solid choruses, and groovy rhythms. It's perfect for intimate shows given how tightly and intensely the songs are played, but if you bring everyone together at a single big venue like 8 Seconds at FEST, the songs do lend themselves for passionate sing/shoutalongs as well. Instrumentally, the band alternate between the Midwestern style and no-frills punk rock, meaning there are songs that draw from Teenage Bottlerocket instrumentally, whilst the coarse singing style ensures we still keep things in Hot Water Music inspired territory overall. Elsewhere, such as on the fantastic "The Edge Of The Western World", the no-frills influence is dropped for a more conventional shouted punk rock approach, and this is where the band excels. Opener "Seventeen Years" is another good example with its hoarsely shouted "Seventeeeeeen Years" opening line that almost breaks into screaming - passionate delivery at work here once again.

"Thread" might not be the most original of albums; there are hundreds of small bands sounding more or less identical to them. But what they do have is a sense for a good melody, an ability to convey raw, unpolished soundscapes in a more convincing manner than many of their peers. Their melodies are sublime, their choruses singalongable in just the right basement-style manner. That's enough to warrant a solid rating - it's just so difficult to hate this sort of upbeat, passionate, heart-on-your-sleeve type punk rock that made Hot Water Music a cornerstone of punk rock back in the day.

Download: Arms Of Catastrophe, Everything Is Everything, The Edge Of The Western World, Seventeen years
For the fans of: Hot Water Music, Teenage Bottlerocket, Ma Jolie, Nightlights
Listen: Facebook

Release date 17.09.2013
Asian Man Records

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