Ape - "And Then There Were 2" (CD/EP)
"And Then There Were 2" track listing:
1. Nothing Is Just (3:22)
2. Man To Machine (4:27)
3. Sell Out (4:55)
Reviewed by Eccentricity on January 11, 2011
When I covered Ape about a year ago I learned that they were upbeat, positive, excited, and frontman Everett Mason's personality was infectious. As far as debuts go, "Survival of the Fittest" (reviewed here) was one of the better ones, but after listening to their latest three-track "And Then There Were 2," it seems much has changed in the last year.
On "Survival of the Fittest" APE seemed to throw in everything but the kitchen sink, but the sound is more definitively thrash-influenced this go around. The songs are tighter and heavier, but Mason's higher range vocals still lend a bit of a punk feel. Even with the occasional growl, these tracks still have a classic feel to them.
What is unfortunate though is that especially the first two tracks, "Nothing Is Just" and "Man To Machine," are a bit too similar. Until about the halfway mark of the latter song, where a funky little breakdown reminiscent of Hendrix is thrown in, these two songs might as well be the same. That's not to say they're bad songs; they're actually pretty good, but the jaded lyrics in both make you wonder what happened in such a short period of time to deflate the band's excitement.
The closing song, "Sell Out," tells much the same story. Ironically though, this song sounds more like a sellout song, with a more mainstream sound and feel. It features a poppy tempo, some fret work that fringes on shred, and the absence of the heavier sounds of the first two tracks. This one is more in the hard rock realm, and feels a little flat.
As far as self-produced albums go, "And Then There Were 2" is a good one. There's the occasional moment where some better mixing would be appropriate, but unlike a lot of self-produced pieces there isn't a hollow or distorted sound. The artwork and photography is simple yet professional, and I know from having kept up with Mason over the last year that he is very involved in all aspects of the band, even down to where to market APE in the U.S. Unfortunately, it makes me wonder if all that involvement is what has made APE so jaded in such a short period of time.
Highs: The sound is more focused and the compositions are tighter.
Lows: These songs are heavy, at least in mood, and leave you with a sense of gloom.
Bottom line: Ape shows that unlike a lot of bands, they're extremely good at self-producing an album, but that and a more focused thrash sound don't make up for the negative theme of this one.
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