Ape School Junior Violence

While there's no doubt that his time in Lilys and Holopaw had some influence on the music he makes currently, Michael Johnson has found his unique sound as Ape School. Their sophomore effort, Junior Violence, dips its toes into psychedelia frequently, but there's a great deal more to it than simply swirling guitars, synths and the occasional drug reference. Take "Marijuana's on the Phone," which is propelled along by a woozy baritone sax that's hard not to fall in love with. It doesn't sound like anything else on the record, although that's not a bad thing. There's playfulness throughout the album, reminiscent of XTC or what Kevin Godley and Lol Creme used to do with 10cc and in their solo work. That means even the most obvious pop songs are tinged with sarcasm and humour, and that's why Junior Violence continues to be rewarding even after repeated listens. (Hometapes)