(Fold-out poster art of the album cover, by Loreana Rushe)
(New video for 'Jake Summers' from Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion. Original 7" with 'Battlestations' B-side here!)
This morning I went back to the first two Fight Like Apes EPs, How Am I Supposed To Kill You When You Have All The Guns and David Carradine is a Bounty Hunter Whose [sic] Robotic Arm Hates Your Crotch, for the first time in a while and I realised why there was something wrong about the choices for the poll above, right: I don't prefer the original versions of 'Jake Summers', 'Do You Karate', 'Lend Me Your Face', etc., as much as I prefer my memory of them. As Nialler9 pointed out, "put those old versions on this album and they would stand out a mile and not in a good way".
On re-listening, the older tracks do lack - and again, not in a good way - the production oomph of the new album. At the same time, a few minutes in and I'm enjoying the EPs just like I was, oh, for this first time eleven months ago. It's not either/or, there's something to be enjoyed in both sets of versions, and preference doesn't have to come into it.
'Something Global' both made me recoil and drew me in on the first few listens; to be trite, 'it grew on me', but it was more the combination of familiar and unfamiliar, or expected and unexpected, that intrigued me. 'Knucklehead' likewise really developed over time into what I now think is a really catchy B-side.There are several of the new songs which don't instantly or unambiguously appeal to me, but far from decrying them as filler I'll admit that there were parts of the EPs which didn't grab me for a while either - and that now very much do.
To make a really uncharitable suggestion, 'Something Global', 'I'm Beginning To Think You Prefer Beverly Hills 90210 To Me', 'Lumpy Dough' and I guess 'Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues' would have made a great EP. But a third EP, whatever stuff you may want to make up about the FLApes ethos, wouldn't have been a good decision for the band either commercially or artistically. There's an obvious purpose to this album and to the inclusion of the reworkings.
Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion deserves a lot more than supposedly typical Irish begrudgery, and I think it will receive a lot more, by way of popular reception and of contribution to the Irish indie scene. Just like the picture above, it folds out into something bigger than, but still based on (look at the bottom left-hand corner), the original sound.