The Solipsistics: Jesus of the Apes

[25 September 2000]

By David Fufkin

This is the fourth album from the Solipsistics, produced by Earle Mankey, the man who brought us the great Jupiter Affect record released this year. This recording is strong, but it took a while to sink in.

One adjective might be sophisticated. Their press materials quote one reviewer who compares the band’s material to Dylan, Lennon and Lou Reed. I wouldn’t go that far, only because when I read stuff like that, I know the reviewer is just lazy and not really listening. What sounds like “Dylan” or “Lennon” or “Reed” anyway? They all recorded a lot of great, but different, material. It doesn’t help me at all. Anyway…

Combining well crafted pop structures, strong vocals and very interesting sounds reminiscent of latter era Beatles or XTC, the tracks on Jesus of the Apes are subtle and weave almost a progressive rock vibe. Except it’s prog with hooks. “The quiet room” builds from an interesting synth or recorder intro into nice “Walk on the Wild Side” call back vocals. “Employee of the Year” has a lead vocal reminiscent of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull on “Thick As a Brick”, except the chorus is stronger. Track three, “They Like Me…” is an interesting use of vocoder (sounds like a computer voice). Tracks four and five (“Monolog”) bring it down a bit with “Monolog”, ending with a great “Our House” by Crosby, Stills and Nash-sounding vocal outro. “That kills me” is a highlight track, with its great keyboard sounds and vocals in a Scott Miller vein. “Glam Descend” is a beautiful acoustic piano-fueled track, and another highlight.

Certainly, the “S” (I can’t risk misspelling this name one more time) are mining the territory of latter-era Beatles post Revolver. Only the best artists dare travel down this road and the “S” mine from some of this territory very well.

The more I listened to this, the more I appreciated the excellent work on Jesus of the Apes. I have a feeling that if I listened to their catalog, I would “get” The Solipsistics better than I do. What I know from listening is that this is well crafted work with attention to detail. I hear a focused vision translated to digital audio. They are thinking before recording, sometimes a rare event.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/solipsistics-jesus/