Coming soon in November is the second album the by Manchester band Dead Sea Apes, Higher Evolutionary.
Their first album, the deep space ambient of Lupus is reviewed here and charts the start of Dead Sea Apes journey:
So what about the follow-up, Higher Evolutionary?
‘Threads’ starts with a long, solar throb which initially made my heart sink as it carries on from where Lupus left off. Not that there would be anything wrong with this but for a few moments I thought that the band might have been playing safe, adopting a more of the same approach. Put it this way, I thought things may have been going Under Siege 2. Luckily, this is a feint and the rhythm section kicks in, albeit slowly but with a steady rumble that made me prick up my ears. There is a chunky, machine-like fluidity to proceedings. If Lupus was the sound of a space ship marooned then this is the sound of a ship ready-made for adventures.
The melodic growth, or rather, embrace continues. ‘Planetarium’ sees a reduction on drone textures and concentrates on a lurching bass, contemplative guitar calls and surprisingly light drums. ‘Turpentine’ pivots on a rattlesnake guitar riff that grows into something heavier. ‘Alejandro’ cheekily starts with almost latin flavoured drums with silky bass and stinging, imperious guitar work.
By the time of ‘Regolith’ the journey that Dead Sea Apes has travelled has become clear, this is barely the same band that set sail all the way back on ‘Pharmakon’. Maybe instead of a space ship, this is one of those super tankers with a turning circle the size of an island. Past 2 minutes you could practically dance to it, try dancing to Lupus: they’d have you committed. After the dark places of Lupus the song comes as a thrill, we can see the band come into the light and invite people to have a dose of guitar based fun.
‘Wolf II’ is a reworking of ‘Wolf Of The Bees’ from Lupus. A concrete edifice guitar stands at the centre. The drums hold back. There is a real space-rock sense of exploration here, again showing the difference between the muted, funereal fin-de-siecle vibe of the original. Finally, the song culminates in a thrilling crescendo: like any good sequel.
The way the sound of the band slowly changes from ambience to groove is highly impressive. The progression over 2 albums is akin to the story telling in a Norwegian crime show. There’s a commitment to the big picture, to slowly unfolding a narrative which is highly satisfying. Moreover you are left wondering what will happen next, if this increase of pace continues Dead Sea Apes may end up kicking out some high-grade, head banging space rock next time round, to which I say: bring it on!!!
Let’s see Lupus as Alien, a slow building paean to the cold, isolated wasteland where no one can hear you scream. Higher Evolutionary is therefore Aliens: stylish, physical, dirty and ready for action.
And, following all this talk of sequels, what better than a trailer?
Higher Evolutionary is available here