Music: Fight Like Apes – WhigField Sextape EP Review

Fight Like Apes have been around for many years, serving up an Irish answer to fellow female fronted band Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

With Jake Summers and Lend me your face, particularly reminiscent of of YYYs’ ballsier tracks, remaining firm favourites among
Irish indie music fans, every time word comes out about a new release the anticipation is palpable.

Fight like Apes Whigfield SextapeIt has been over three years since the release of second album ‘The Body of Christ and The Legs of Tina Turner” so the announcement of a new single and impending EP, ‘Whigfield Sextape’ comes with much expectation. The name of the EP is a giveaway of what is to come. For younger readers, ‘Whigfield’ were the pop outfit that released “Saturday Night” (who still knows the dance routine?) 20 years ago; it is probably the definition of pop music. What lies on this EP is their usual rambunctious fiestiness toned down a fraction with electro-pop elements. Hence, Whigfield Sextape; at least that is this bewildered blogger’s take on it.

Purist fans will be let down by this one; the type of fans that like to hang onto a band’s earlier days, regardless of the fact that when people making the music grow their music develops alongside them.

It is almost as if the band’s early 20s angst has melted away and revealed a more mature, subtle and melodic side. Lead single Crouching Bees is a delightful track with lead vocalist MayKay displaying her unique and piercing vocals at their best. The simplistic chorus of “Hey- ay- eh-ay” feels like a tip towards their celtic heritage, which works well over a cheerful melody.

The rebellious side to the band remains in the lyrics of some of these tunes, with Tyson taking a swing at the band members that left (Don’t leave this band, you’ll go insane) and Bwah! in which they recall the sharpness in which their songs are delivered: “We’re making tunes with spinal chords”. 

If you are expecting Fight Like Apes to deliver a carbon copy of their earlier work, this is not what you are going to get from the ‘Whigfield Sextape’ EP. You are going to get something a little more progressive, exacted and melodic, which works well with MayKay’s intense vocal.  The EP is very about Fight Like Apes and how they percieve their development and approach to making music, so it is fitting that it is a step away from their previous work.

While we may here grumbles about their latest work not being “the same” as their first releases, their ability to embrace a slightly fresher sound is commendable. Wouldn’t it be boring if a band released the same style of music every time they made a new album or EP? Fight Like Apes are thinking forward in terms of their style and what lies forward is more progressive development, more delectable tunes, and more fantastic releases.

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Tune of The Week: Moscow Metro – Spirit Of A City

March has been quite a hectic month in casa del M&E so I’ve been listening to quite a lot of chilled out music to instill some calm to the choas. Moscow Metro have featured quite a bit on my commutes to work and weekend drives  over the past few days thanks to their fantastic single Spirit of A City. 

The track will feature on the upcoming EP of the same title, an EP which is smooth and beautiful, just like this track.

Ideal for chillin out, this National-esque track is soothing and complex in equal measure; I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more from them when their EP is released in April.

Music: Henry Girls – Louder Than Words | Reviewed

Henry Girls album reviewThe Henry Girls have been around for quite sometime despite the recent peak in interest, possibly spawned by the increased popularity in folk music. Names after their grandfather, the Donegal sisters have been performing  together for more than a decade, with their first release “Between Us” gracing the Irish music scene in 2002.

This month sees the release of their 5th album ‘Louder Than Words’ , a warm, ten track album that comes across polished and professional, without succumbing to an overly commercial sound.

On the whole, this is a consistently strong album with a few tracks that stand just a little further out than the others. Reason To Believe is particularly notable; a soothingly harmonic track in which the sisters vocals intertwine beautifully, it is a signature of their light and airy sound.

The harmonies are what really sell this album. There is something wonderfully perfect when siblings sing together and this is especially true in the case of the Henry Girls. The Light in The Window and Here Beside Me are rendered magical by the heart wrenching harmonies; the former instilling some fantastic traditional Irish musicianship in the form of a fiddle and bodhrán.

This is an exquisite album with highs and lows in terms of tempo, mood and vocals throughout. It is compelling and moving; masterful in the sense that it truly draws the listener in to the atmosphere of each song. If you have not yet heard The Henry Girls music, this album would be a great place to start.

If you’re hoping to catch them live, The Henry Girls recently announced a 13 date tour of Ireland. Find out where they’re playing here.

Album: The Radioactive Grandma- The Radioactive Grandma

A strange name for a band, there is no denying that and initial impressions may be more negative than anticipatory based on that but there is something with a bit more substance than the name would have you believe.

The Cavan based band have a simplistic format- a three piece playing with just an acoustic guitar, electric guitar and a Cajon (one of those boxes you sit on and slap, for those who don’t know- this reviewer had to look it up!) and it is therefore further surprising to find that they produce some exciting music. Unusually, the acoustic guitar leads each song which the electric guitar provides more beef to the other wise folky sound and despite the lack of a drum kit, the tracks can be quite powerful- this is not what you will be expecting at all.

This is a band that are not adverse to moving from one strain of music to another. With tracks like Robot Song, an endearing track that will make you feel a little warm inside as compared to Don’t Look Down which has a much stronger presence. When listening to the album it is hard not to compare many of the tracks to Bloc-Party- namely Chasing my Tail and Another Wasted Line. They take the tempo of an archetypal Bloc-Party song and turn into something interesting (no offence to the Bloc-Party fans) with the leading acoustic and the delightful sounding cajon.

In short the album is a joy to listen to and it is one of those by which you will be genuinely surprised from the sound of tracks- folky more so than punk as the band name would suggest, the instrumental arrangement and the ability to change from up beat to down beat despite the minimalism of the band as whole.  Certainly worth  a listen.

Claire Kane