An enveloping melodic caress and rich sonic exploration which draws on the imagination as much as the passions, The Shapes of Apes to Come EP is a refreshing and invigorating debut by UK project Shhh… Apes! Consisting of five tracks which paint and sculpt evocative landscapes and emotive endeavours, the release is an absorbing flight through thought ruffling, emotion seducing adventure. At times a consuming provocation on the memory and in other moments a lingering warm invasive enchantment, the EP is a magnetic embrace which is unique and adventurous, an encounter sure to provoke a lustful hunger for time and things to come.
The South Wales based Shhh…Apes! is the creation of Mark Foley, a man who has been in numerous bands such as Vito, Strange News From Another Star, Bravecaptain (Martin Carr’s post-Boo Radleys project), and The Secret Show (with Matt Davies of Funeral For A Friend). He also runs a rehearsal/recording studio called Musicbox as well as occasionally globetrotting as a tour manager; it is this busy life of Foley which has seen Shhh…Apes! take five years to emerge from its initial conception. Now finally ready to be unveiled, the project is ensuring it makes the strongest impression with its scintillating debut EP. Drawing in the talent of vocalist Lianne Francis, guitarist Stuart Michel, drummer and percussionist Andrew Plain, and trombonist Lewis Griffiths, alongside himself and producer Charlie Francis (REM, Future Of The Left ,The High Llamas) who also contributes keys to the release, Foley has built a cast of imagination and invention which soaks each note and second of the release. Atmospheric, emotionally elegant, and rampantly provocative, The Shape Of Apes To Come is a minimalistically scented full bloom of expansive atmospheric captivation.
Painkiller is the opening encounter, its walking guitar coaxing, within a delicious corrupted caustic rub, the enticing beckoning into the beauty hued dual vocal hug of Foley and Francis, their harmonies and soothing deliveries an exceptional temptation into the heart of the song and release. With great ambling rhythms skirting their every syllable, the song expands its melodic ambient delivering arms, expelling a flame of sonic imagination and breath-taking invention. Through its eventful soundscape the guitars and vocals lead thoughts through evolving incitement whilst the brass stroking of the ear only enhances the depth and potent colour of the bewitchment. It is simply a spellbinding experience.
The following I Am Thin adds spots of glockenspiel from Andy Cowan to the guitar and brass lined ambience which surrounds and gently crowds the ear from the start, whilst the air and intensity at work is a smouldering lure which gently boils across the opening half of the track as rhythms and keys providing a complimentary cloak to the guitar conjurations. It is an evocative template for the mind and imagination to toy and create individual plays with before everything takes a breather for the again vocal glamour of the pair to share their rich voice of sound and tale. A sultry air covers the ballad as it makes its final impassioned weave and though the track is not is immediate as its predecessor it is an aural incantation which lies deeply within senses and heart.
Both Fall and Three Horses make their individual enthralling and impacting sways, the first with a resourceful flaming of trombone with trumpet by Francesca Dimech around that again arousing vocal combination. Ripe in shadow and vibrant in melodic beauty, the track is a transfixing burn on the psyche whilst the following song is a melancholic ballad which holds hand with reflective thought and emotional seduction. The melodic encircling of the body raises goosebumps on the neck which hold tight from start to finish, its charm parading further expansion of the songwriting and imagination bearing upon the senses.
The release closes with the electro fizzing Angel Calling Down, the synths of the song bringing a psychedelic lilt to its inviting slow waltz. With the brass again building spires of tempting fire within the smothering humid air, the song is a mesmeric invocation which lifts its energy as it flies into a romping yet sophisticated dance. The best song on the immense release it brings The Shapes of Apes to Come EP to a sizzling conclusion.
Shhh… Apes! is a presence which leaves the kind of branding upon the mind and heart which burns deeper over time, its rewards majestic and innovatively seducing.
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