Forgoing lead guitar for shambling, sinister organ licks, DC post-punk outfit the Apes strike a strange middle-ground between minimalism and maximalism. Lacking guitar accompaniment, Jeff Schmid’s drums and and Erick Jackson’s bass tend operate in spare cages of plunging rhythms and blurting stabs, and when the keys afford them some space, the whole feels crisply open. However, just as often as organist Amanda Bynes allows herself to be constrained by the others’ rhythms, she surges past and breaks free, letting her organ swell to fill every gap with psychedelic squeal. It’s a decent formula, and Ghost Games moves well for the first half or so, but Apes run it into the ground over rest of the album. The saving grace? New singer Breck Brunson, whose vaulting falsettos and snarling incantations put the cramped range of all too many post-punk vocalists to shame.
// Notes from the Road
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