Live Review: Dead Sea Apes – Shacklewell Arms, London, 09.04.2015

In some ways the Dead Sea Apes were in an unenviable position at the Cardinal Fuzz showcase at the Shacklewell Arms in London last week, part of the Bad Vibrations Label Mates season. This was a special night where all three bands (You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons and Anthroprophh were also on the bill) played headline-length sets. The other two bands are by their nature heavy and visceral, whereas Dead Sea Apes are much more calm and considered which means a different way for the audience to listen and appreciate the music. For me this worked well and provided something of a respite from the feral nature of Demons and Anthroprophh.

Dead Sea Apes are a big favourites of ours here at Psych Insight/ Backseat Mafia. The last album, High Evolutionary, made it onto our 20 Essential Psych Albums list last year; and I loved the sacredness and sensitivity of the previous double LP Lupus; both albums on Cardinal Fuzz. The good news is that there is a new album, Spectral Domain, on the way…due out June/ July this year, dependant no doubt on pressing plant availability. The even better news is that the new tracks that the band played at the Shacklewell were at least every bit as good as what had gone before, in the case of set opener ‘True Believers’ (which would probably have been better but for some technical issues), but the other new track ‘Universal Interrogator’ was my highlight of the set. Played with real drive, it sounded to me like the band has once again upped its game, something which bodes well for its release in the middle of what is already proving to be an amazing year for left field music.

As usual, as regular readers will know, I got into the set far to much to remember the set list exactly, although the dub bass of the excellent ‘Planetarium’ stood out as a particular highlight, its also my favourite track from the ‘High Evolutionary’ album; and I also remember being well and truly away with it during ‘Regolith’, which showcased for me how tight the band are with great interplay between Brett on guitar and Nick on Bass ,with Chris (drums) keeping it all together.

This was the first time I’ve seen the band live and it was great to see that it could replicate the intricacies and nuance of its recorded work. It was gratifying to hear this meditative and thoughtful music in between the two monoliths of Demons and Anthroprophh, and showcase the variety of sounds available on Cardinal Fuzz.

You can find more Psych Insights by Simon Delic here.

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