#soundcheck rediscovering the apes – ghost games (2008)

June 13, 2012

These days there’s somewhere between 27,000 and 40,000 albums released every year. Some of them are great. Some of them are not so great. Some of them blow up. Others, not so much. But in the internet era, nothing stays lost forever. Today we rediscover The Apes – Ghost Games. Travel back in time with us to the year 2008. Gas hit $4/gal for the first time in history. George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg proved that yes, you can make a crappy Indiana Jones movie. Hope and Change were sweeping the land. And a post-punk band from D.C. called The Apes released their last full length album. After their second change in lead singer, The Apes connected with visual artist Breck Brunson. The new line-up released an EP in 2006 for their tour, and then followed that with the full length, Ghost Games.

With Brunson on the mic, the band retained Erick Jackson’s bass-heavy post-punk assault, but added more elements of dance-punk and put a stronger emphasis on melody than they ever had before. ‘Walk Thru Walls’ is downright beautiful with Amanda Kleinman’s haunting electric piano. Tracks like ‘Dr. Watcher’ and ‘G.R.F.’ call to mind the similar guitarless sounds of Death From Above 1979, but maybe a touch less anarchic. Album highlight ‘Which Witch Wuz’ particularly makes great use of Brunson’s falsetto yelp. Proudly claiming their right to the “D.C. Sound,” The Apes twist and turn; jumping from a straight-ahead driving rhythm to an off-kilter keyboard riff that somehow conjures classic horror movie scores without ever losing an ounce of energy.

Sadly, the band split not long after releasing Ghost Games. Although they never really got the respect they deserved while they were together, their noisy psychedelic post-punk is definitely worth rediscovering.

– Contributor: Nathan Leigh

Click here to buy the album