Great Apes

Playland At The Beach EP

Written by: PP on 17/11/2014 23:52:30

Here's the latest EP by Great Apes, whose sophomore full-length "Thread" thoroughly impressed me last year. They belong to the group of small American punk bands regularly visiting FEST and playing basement shows the rest of the year, but their sense of passion and knack for writing decent sing along melodies is what makes them worth paying attention to. On "Playland At The Beach" EP they funnel through a number of different influences ranging from Against Me! circa "Searching For A Former Clarity"-era ("Go Niners (As Told By Telegraph Hill), Hot Water Music (pretty much their entire discography) and also take stabs at the modern American rock song as told by Gaslight Anthem on "Paint Job (The Lament Of 1492 Valencia street)".

The latter is what they are actually really good at. Recalling both Cheap Girls and Luther among other bands, the expansive alternative rock with feeling sounds far better than the upbeat and more punk rock oriented "Whitney's Playland At The Beach (By The Dutch Windmill Of Golden Gate Park)" for example, which showcases rougher and more textured vocals but isn't anywhere near as catchy. Curiously enough, all five songs on the EP sound radically different from each other in terms of vocal styles, tempo shifts, and overall atmosphere and soundscape, which leaves behind a slightly cacophonic EP that doesn't seem to know what it wants to do most. The contrast between the hardcore-rooted "New Rough, Old Diamond (A Conversation Between Vesuvio And Specs)" and the aforementioned American rock song style track is as stark as it is confusing.

It's not that the band is bad at the former or in punk rock in general, quite the contrary actually, these are pretty good tracks in those genres. It's just that they are much better at writing the more melodic and alternative rock-rooted sound than punk rock, at least based on this EP. That also makes it difficult to know who this record is aimed at. Is it the punk rock crowd, or does Great Apes secretly want to break out from playing sweaty shows into something a little bit more ambitious? Time will tell. For now, the EP is a little too incoherent for my liking, so a decision of one way or the other is essential.


Download: Go Niners (As Told By Telegraph Hill), Paint Job (The lament Of 1492 Valencia Street)
For the fans of: Against Me!, Hot Water Music, Cheap Girls

Release date 11.11.2014
Asian Man Records

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