Apache Beat has garnered a great deal of fanfare around its new take on rock music. Clinging to the edges of 70s punk and 80s post-rock, Apache Beat relishes the opportunity to take the old and reinvent it. With its full-length album, Last Chants, the eclectic fivesome has the chance to truly break through – that is if the album stands up.
Early singles such as the anthemic “Another Day” and the surprise hit, “Tropics” indicate the band’s depth and creativity. Sure this is rock music, but it is much more. There are hints of electronic, ambience, and even big beat. There is something sweet and breezy about the guitar melodies placed together, particularly as they are used as prefixes or interludes, however all of this is undermined by the deeper, relentless drums that drive the album, and give it true weight.
The percussion here is most impressive, and is the clear focal point of the album. Playing with ideas of electronic and left-field hip-hop, Apache Beat creates rhythms that sound like a more grandiose version of afrobeat. Bongos pound away in the background, rooted by steady bass kicks and crashing, open hi-hats. The tracks are then polished off with layers of electric guitars and vocals. “Your Powers Are Magic” exhibits the band’s ability to generate the equivalent of a cinematic sound. It’s as if the music floods out of the speakers and engulfs the listener wholly.
The music is challenged by the vocals, which attempt to overpower at times, sapping the energy from the purity of the music. There is some fine subject matter that can be felt in the lyrics, such as the love-torn tinge of “Tropics,” however other songs such as the title track and “Fear of Falling” fail to capitalize on the emotional weight of the music. Last Chants does ultimately show why everyone seems to want to talk about Apache Beat. Mostly instrumental tracks such as “It Will Be” and “Momentary Alignment” are some of the smartest on the album, and along with the singles, leave much promise for this band heading forward.