2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A mixed bag,
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This review is from: Bel Air (Audio CD)
Prior to purchasing 'Bel Air' a few weeks ago the last Guano Apes release I bought was the highly impressive 'Don't Give Me Names' over 10 years ago. I was intrigued as to how the band would now sound. The album kicks off with the infectious 'Sunday Lover'. A good opener and probably the best track on the album. It gets the balance right between mainstream catchiness whilst retaining the distinctive Apes vibe. The next song 'Oh What A Night' sounds very FM friendly with a big chorus and it becomes obvious that Guano Apes have definitely chosen a more commercial direction. Had this song been on one of their older albums it would have undoubtedly sounded more raw, here it's quite a throwaway number that I'd expect teenage girls to dance to at a high school disco rather than the bands core fanbase who surely must be between 25-35?
Another damp squib is 'She's A Killer', the song is buried beneath a high level of compression that simply does Guano Apes no favours whatsoever (for a moment I thought I was listening to the Scissor Sisters), again had this had a more organic natural sound it may well have been a good track. Some songs however come across well, 'When The Ships Arrive' & 'This Time' are solid tunes but the filler material here renders Bel Air a resoundingly undistinguished album, had the Apes released an EP with the best 4 tracks I would have been very impressed.
For anyone curious as to where the band are at now I'd approach with caution and maybe check out a few of the tracks on Youtube etc before buying. Although some tracks are not suited to the production and probably sound better played live the point is there's several songs here which wouldn't have got anywhere near the old Apes albums. Still I'm not sorry I bought it but just don't expect an essential album.