Fight Like Apes, The Body Of Christ And The Legs Of Tina Turner

Joe Muggs

By Joe Muggs

on 04.01.11 in Reviews

The Body Of Christ And The Legs Of Tina Turner

Fight Like Apes

There's something, in Fight Like Apes' ludicrously titled album Body of Christ and Legs of Tina Turner that's reminiscent of a time — long, long time ago, way back in the 1980s — when alternative music could funny, really, truly funny and still pack a serious, visceral punch. The kind of music that would be introduced to the world by the legendary John Peel on the BBC. It's a rich mini-tradition, from the psychedelic lunacy of Butthole Surfers to the alternative pop of Voice Of The Beehive, the cool arch-bohemianism of Bongwater to the wilfully awkward Stump: not "comedy music" as such, but songwriting and delivery which wore its warped wit on its sleeve and invited the listener to be in on its in-jokes.

A rawness and belligerent joy that stands out a mile

Which is not to say that Irish Fight Like Apes necessarily sound like any of the aforementioned bands. They have their own sound, a live-sounding, keyboard-led and punky approach that is neither rock nor electro, but perhaps somewhere close to Pulp circa Different Class doused in unhealthy amounts of cheap alcohol and methamphetamine and causing trouble at a rave. But there's a rawness and belligerent joy to their songs that stands out a mile in today's climate, where earnestness, reserve or studied cool seem to be de rigeur for indie bands.

The themes of the songs are the little things, often written off as mundane but actually forming some of the most important co-ordinates of life. Friendship, boredom, hatred of faux-sincerity, wondering who to call to get drunk with in the afternoon — all of these are sung about with the passion they deserve by firebrand singer MayKay Geraghty, in songs that are perfectly concise and packed with hooks that drive the small slices of life deep into your brain long after you've finished listening. So though titles like "Ice Cream Apple Fuck", "Thank God You Weren't Thirsty" and "Pull Off Your Arms And Let's Play In Your Blood" might seem merely flippant, what you get from this album is anything but — the humour doesn't exactly disguise a serious message, but when you let yourself be drawn into the jokes, you realise that they themselves have a deep resonance, especially when set to such snappy, turbocharged tunes.