Review Summary: Cool band name, witty derivative of band name in album title, excellent samples that rock like only the independent can, and nu-metal br3wtality?“His coconut gun can fire in spurts, If he shoots ya, ITS GONNA HURT! Cause he’s DK, Donkey Kong!”
Upon sitting down and listening to Simple Simian
, an appropriately titled EP from UK group Apes, Pigs & Spacemen, the first thing that popped into my mind were the lyrics to the overture of Donkey Kong 64 (since Donkey Kong, is in fact, an ape), a game that was an amazingly blatant rip-off of Mario 64, which was released in 1999 on, no surprise here, the Nintendo 64. Unsurprisingly enough, that song has been consistently voted to suck the most a
ss of any video game tune ever conceived, so it tied into the experience I got from this EP.
Before I start ripping them a new one, I’ll admit that AP&S have dedication. You don’t survive through the thick and thin of major and indie label support over the course of 12+ years without having something to ride on. And for AP&S, it’s their dedication, and for that they have my respect. The problem is, while their dedication may be out for all the world to see, with Simple Simian
their talent is buried under a wall of crap thirty feet thick.
Take the first song, “Vertigo” for instance. The intro seeps progressive goodness from its pores with a nice, simple techno-influenced beat, the kind of thing that would make post-rock elitists swoon. And then, all of the sudden, it sounds like I’m listening to a St. Anger
guitar riff, complete with bastard combination of James Hetfield and Jeff Mangum’s (of Metallica
and Neutral Milk Hotel
respectively) voices. And, as soon as it launches that “wonderful” barrage upon my ears, “Vertigo” goes back to a calm, somewhat loopy style for its various breakdowns…until we get to the bridge, which brings back the coarse, guttural guitar-work, and quite possibly the most irritating vocals on the disc.
Seriously, guitarist “Tom” has to have some of the most abhorrent tone I’ve ever heard in my life. I honestly felt throughout Simple Simian
that I was back in the late 90s, being bombarded by all kinds of popular “metal” of the time. The bad sounds he makes go along pretty well with his sloppy and altogether boring style of play. Vocalist “Miro,” goes from screaming to whining, with one of the most un-charming British accents I’ve ever heard. The only real upside to the EP is the samples that often are overlain by the horrible instrumental work. Apes, Pigs & Spacemen simply burn through too many different genres of music here and do all of them half-right, or worse.
The one thing that keeps Simple Simian
from being a total loss is the third track, “The Best Thing.” I have to admit, that is the most ominous coincidence ever. Still, the title doesn’t lie: “The Best Thing” is a great song, infusing vastly superior vocals, catchier instruments (and a lack of buzz saw distortion via guitar), and exceedingly more well-written lyrics. “The Best Thing” is a clear indication that AP&S definitely have something
to work with talent-wise, but it just doesn’t explain why the rest of this album is just so flat-out terrible. Hopefully they can build off of songs like “The Best Thing” in the future, because to be truthful, it’s the difference between them being really lousy or really good. Just, for the love of Christ, don’t suck like the Donkey Kong 64 soundtrack.