Every few years, our little country belches out a band that accurately captures the zeitgeist and epitomises all that is good and healthy about the Irish music scene. More often than not, praise is heaped and hopes are pinned upon these bands, only for the incessant, histrionic build-up to override the substance. But Fight Like Apes are different. Having already received impressive plaudits from UK and Irish press on the back of their two excellent EPs and a handful of limited edition singles, the Dubliners know all about riding the crest of the hype-wave. Certainly, if you've experienced a FLA live show, you'll be aware that they look about as serious as Mary Harney on rollerblades - but what differentiates the synth-rock quartet from their po-faced contemporaries is their ability to coordinate the tawdry, with songs of depth and meaning.
Chief songwriters MayKay and Pockets are a talented duo, that's for sure; basing your predominant sound around synthesisers these days is a risky manoeuvre, but when the songs are as motley and as colourful as these are, it works almost intuitively. Producer John Goodmanson (Death Cab for Cutie, Nada Surf) has harnessed the band's sometimes-chaotic tendencies without blunting their sharp edges - best heard on the re-recorded versions of EP tracks Jake Summers and Battlestations - while live favourite Lend Me Your Face is more melodic and rounded, if perhaps not as instantly forceful as its original.
There's great range here, too; although Fight Like Apes excel at the driving, punky, venomous pop best heard on the sublime Do You Karate? and Digifucker, they're more than capable of mixing it up with melancholic downers like Tie Me Up With Jackets and Lumpy Dough. MayKay's wry, heartbreak-inspired lyrics provide the perfect foil to the sometimes-whimsical soundtrack, too - her voice capable of jumping from skewed lullabies to the wail of a thousand banshees in seconds flat.
More than anything else, though, Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion embodies a sense of excitement, and above all, impulsive fun - something that debut albums are rarely plucky enough to exhibit. An absolute thrill, from start to finish.