Junior Violence, Ape School’s second album, features my current delight – pounding drums, loudly mixed, with understated, fuzzy chorus guitars. I’m a sucker for this dreamy sound.
Every song on Junior Violence is the perfect pop length. Opener A New Low! It Sucks Itself is fun and bouncy, akin to MGMT and the swathes of DIY scene lo-fi guitar/synth bands. Ape School manage to punk it up with more swear words though.
Carry On is clearly influenced by classic 80’s stars like Duran Duran, or, more contemporarily, Chromeo. With psychedelic shades of Pink Floyd, the spaciousness of songs such as Beneficiary (Don’t Blame Me) are true to their minimal influences, the 80’s ripple continuing through the piano melody.
Playfulness abounds in Marijuana’s on the Phone, its oboe and walking basslines reminiscent of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, the nostalgia making it easy to warm to. Ready for Duty hangs with an ELO plod and an Eagles run-in with Teenage Fanclub. Have I mentioned the Beatles yet?
Sourpuss Down to a Science stems from a nonchalant revisitation of Pet Shop Boys, Talking Heads and Joy Division. It reaches an epic level, shoe-horning in a bunch of contemporary synths and delay. It is 2012 after all.
Album closer Piss It Away has a ‘throw your life away’ message we’d expect from these rowdy pseudo-hooligans. I guess the question is how long they can afford to do that for? How long shall they be chucking everything they have at their music before retiring into some menial job at a mall or wherever? No-one’s going to be changing their lives to get into this album, that’s for sure, but hell, it sounds like Ape School are having a top time making music. What’s wrong with that?