Listening to The Apes is kind of the musical equivalent of wandering into the wrong college party by accident only to be faced with a room full of crazy stoners who dress like it’s 1972 and want to talk about philosophy and getting back to the land, <<man>>.
Let’s just get it out of the way and admit that this foursome have played with some truly great bands (Les Savy Fav, The Walkmen, Q & Not U, Mars Volta etc) and gotten glowing reviews from some of the country’s biggest music magazines. Then let’s just say it’s hard to really care because Baba’s Mount smacks continually of trying too hard.
You know you’re in trouble immediately when the first thing you hear is two minutes of screeching outbursts on a tin whistle, the slow thud of some kind of hippy drum and the kind of irritating high-pitched vocals you imagine might actually have come out of a leprechaun.
Then, the first track proper – called “Baba’s Mount” incidentally – throws you headlong into stoner territory with plodding bass, frustratingly jazzy time changes and lyrics about autumn and rainbows and all that other bullshit people on hallucinogens enjoy.
And they just won’t shut up. You think all the consistently nonsensical lyrics about lions and children and owls and riding on the green bus are about as bad as things can get. And then on “Imp Aah” they go and outdo themselves: “The imp, the oh, Baba ha ha ha, yippee aye cokes, chicken oh woah oh” actually comes out of someone’s mouth. …At least that’s what it sounds like. We’ll never know for sure since they were wise enough not to include a lyrics sheet.
And on it goes. The organ wails along (did I mention they use an organ instead of a lead guitar?), awash with a backing of loops and effects and samples and anything else they can find that will make them sound trippy and foreboding.
In fairness, there are people out there that will enjoy this. And they will be on drugs. And it will, like, totally blow their minds and they’ll get all their friends over and smoke bongs and take acid and they’ll probably all get naked and do wavy-arm dancing until they can no longer stand up. But if you’re not one of them, you’d best avoid this.
Rae Alexandra is a limey. She has been a music journalist and sub editor since 2001, working mainly for the UK’s Kerrang! and Q Magazines. She recently relocated to San Francisco to finish writing a novel about drunken punk rockers. Feel free to send job offers, insults and photos of emo boys to:.