Organic classic rock gets a new lease of life courtesy of Italy's Ape Skull.
“Rock is dead they say. Long Live Rock!” - That's what The Who reckoned way back in the early 70s, and those eight words carry a lot of truth. What can now be seen as a musical form reaching its peak with the emergence of heavy blues based rock played with virtuosity by power trios, also signalled the moment just before the rot set in. But it's the last three words that also point to a hopeful future. We have the form down, now take that and give it a function.
Italy's Ape Skull play heavy rock music that has little to do with any music developments since 1974 but that's not the point. What they do is take the blueprint of warmly cranked up amps and groovy hard rock and have fun with it. Let's be honest there's plenty of modern day rock bands that are stifled by the pressure of adding something to the form. Personally I'd rather hear something that comes from the heart and has a bit of soul as opposed to something hampered by an obligation to progression.
Ape Skull's self-titled debut album recalls the golden age of the power trio format, channelling echoes of Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Free, Led Zeppelin, Blue Cheer et al. It's hard acid rock with a soulful groove, and would be more at home on the free festival circuit of the late 60s/early 70s than on any modern day beer-sponsored stage. Not afraid of sitting on the groove or taking an extended guitar solo, this is rock music you can boogie to. unpretentious, unhinged and a whole lotta fun.