Well, it’s not really a hard concept. The English language is actually pretty straightforward in this instance. It’s too much. That’s how much too much is. How much is too much? Too much. That’s how much. Too. Much.
Fight Like Apes are too much. Hyperactivity isn’t a good thing. It isn’t even one of those things which isn’t necessarily a good thing, like nobility, or virtuosity or sincerity. It’s just one of those things which is just plain bad.
Sure, Be Your Own Pet showed that you could turn it into an art form, but their skill was taking the petulance and the excessive energy and turning it into music which was both hilarious and only lasted for a precisely short amount of time. Whereas Fight Like Apes use the same general pattern, but achieve something more like the four-year kicking the back of your seat for the entirety of the 14 hour journey to Hong Kong.
Plus, there is just something horribly judged about the whole thing. If you point out the inherent flaws in something, do you gain acceptance for them? Is that was passes for cleverness, a narcissistic streak which means that it’s okay to be shit (and horribly zeitgeisty), provided you know that you’re shit and are totally aware of the current trend you’ve decided to strip mine?
Blame Scream. That was when the self-referential became the acceptable. It’s when it became ok to have a plot in which the participants would do really stupid things, despite noting that they were really stupid things, because they were reassured by the fact that those bad things only happen in a movie, which clearly this wasn’t. Except it was. Kind of.
Anyway, there’s something of that about Fight Like Apes. A band who complain bitterly about the magazines which are “so over-rated yeah / and then try to tell you / try to to sell you”, but yet who possess pretty broad appeal. And their album is off-beat and different, but in a really, strangely, self-concious way. The musical equivalent of one of those ‘You Don’t Have To Be Crazy To Work Here… But It Helps’, stickers.
In very small doses it’s okay. Particularly if you guffaw at lyrics like “you’re like Kentucky Fried Chicken / but without the taste…” as they heartily exclaim on Jake Summers. Hell, if you guffaw at anything you can probably get on board with Fight Like Apes.
But if your sense of humour has developed past that, you’ll probably just find it all a little tiresome.