Park Ape
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Park Ape

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The best kept secret in music

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ASBURY PARK, NJ—There’s something about the rebellious outsider that always piques my curiosity when it comes to the original music scene. Asbury’s own Park Ape is a one of a handful of standout bands that opt for the dark, alpha road of artistic direction, and they do it quick and heavy all day long. Park Ape at first glance might seem to some to be some strange, six-headed monster gnashing its fangs at many different traditional targets, but once you listen to the new disc, Urban Safari, and see them live, the multiple influences of each member collide into a unified brand of cacophony that is all their own.

Park Ape was at The Saint to celebrate the release of their brand new disc and they did a good job at convincing me to spin it after watching their special brand of punk mayhem live. Singer Sal Vation seems to be the focal point of attitude live and on disc, with bandmates Michael Arnold aka Vino Jones, Slim Polski aka Slam, Larry Grey aka Blak Cherry, Colin Thompson aka Basshead tightened the backdrop like a stool pigeon’s head in a vise.

Kicking off with “Effing Sexy,” the band drilled the crowd with heavy, riff-oriented rock in the funky vein of Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie.” Heavy bass and drums set up killer guitarist Larry Grey, (this guy is the area’s underrated secret weapon) who hits it hard, head down and concentrated on his fretboard frenetics. Lyrical content is down and dirty, Sal’s specialty, and he doesn’t lowball topic on this song as he sings, “You’ve been a tease/So I do as I please.”

“Now” is the song that I’d pick as the band’s anthem. Bold, loud and filled with the snarl of Johnny Lydon, Sal Vation makes you a believer when he tells you “Someday, I’ll have all I ever wanted.” Grey and second guitarist Slim Polski grab this old school punk rocker by the neck as Mike Arnold and Colin Thompson hold it down for Sal to spew lyrical voodoo on. Compositional style is all guitars down around the knees as they shoot for the stars and hit the meteor-hot altitude of Black Oak Arkansas meets the Bad Brains.

“Touch It” comes out with all the fury and snarl that matches anything on Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction. Once again, lyrical tongue in cheek is all Sal Vation as guitars get up fast, buzzing like a horde of angry wasps. Mike Arnold and Colin Thompson are slamming and they push this dirty, filthy gem right into the oncoming lane of delightful perversity.

My second choice for top tune comes with “Subtle Prostitution,” a mid-tempo, grungy number in the vein of Rage Against The Machine and Body Count. The main chorus riff chases Sal’s vocal line like a dog at a moving tire, coming up and under before crashing into the Zeppelin-influenced verse as Sal machine gun raps his attitude-laden vocal down the center of the song.

Urban Safari is a pretty good cross-section of music from a band with a definitive musical plan. Live, they keep you wrapped up with great playing technique and banter, which also comes across on the recording. This is a band that’s worked hard to get their point across while maintaining some semblance of originality and dedication to traditional punk and funk rock sounds of the past. Check out Park Ape and Urban Safari over at reverbnation.com/parkape.
- the aqurian weekly John Pfeiffer


Discography


Album: Urban Safari
Label: 448 Records
Release Date: January 01, 2011

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