APE SHIFTER – Monkey Business

Brainstorm 2023

Monkey Business

Simian seriousness sends Immenstadt ensemble towards less strange, yet still arresting, sonic tracts.

Recent years were hard for everyone, even those who used to smile their way through thick and thin, like guitarist Jeff Aug who let his group take a longer than usual sabbatical before following up their sophomore effort with a platter that’s able to shift collective paradigm – but whether the change this album can bring about is good or bad remains out of scope. Any movement away from stagnation should be deemed positive, so while humor may seem to seep out of here in lesser doses than earlier, the sheer force offered by the adventurous, tone-toting likes of “Promises Of A Progressive Future” – there are quite a few such cuts – will redress the balance and make the replacement of quirky figures with straightforward hard rock riffs feel justified.

Of course, streamlined, if ever groovy, opener “MPU” doesn’t fail to ooze a funky kind of fun, especially when clever stereo panning is involved, yet “Stampede” reduces the band dynamics to a chug only to unfold the trio’s multilayered swagger in its entirety for “Misery” to flesh it out with some tasty harmonies and a shred of shredding and for the blistering “Ahab” to unleash a melodic assault-cum-balladry on the riveted listener. But where “Purple” crushes the initially fragile filigree under a weighty twang, “Mind Of You” goes for a simple, albeit also heavy, rock ‘n’ roll shuffle, and the wailing “Shitkicker” rages with a lot of bluesy gusto. And then there’s a spaced-out, cinematic, effects-exploring epic of “Lying In Wait” to map out the trio’s progress in more apparent, arresting terms.

Carrying on down this route is bound to compensate the latter-day toil and trouble, and really there’s no other option for the German ensemble than to embrace greatness.


February 5, 2023

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