Apes of the State/Local News Legend/Mary - Split Peas (Cover Artwork)

Apes of the State / Local News Legend / Mary

Split Peas (2019)


I’ve been a fan of Apes of the State for about a year and a half now, so when they announced a three-way split, I was more than stoked, both for new Apes, but also to find a couple of new bands in that similar vein. Apes joins Mary Wander and Local News Legend for the Split Peas release, both of which I had heard of, but was fairly unfamiliar with.

Local News Legend starts the album off, and she does it better than anyone could have expected.Like Apes’ music, LNL brings very introspective views of her own problems and issues in this world that the youth are inheriting. “Bikes & Bonfires” sets the tone for the album, and the lyrics are so captivating that even at three minutes twenty-four seconds, you don’t want this song to end. For someone who had little experience with her music, it was the perfect introduction. It’s followed by three, much shorter tunes, but none with less passion, musicality, and beautiful lyrical composition (though one of the songs can’t be credited to her, as she covers AJJ’s “Brave as a Noun”). “Neutral Spirit Hotel” has the best line of the entire split, and I’ve found myself singing to myself “Please don’t think that I am just some drunk / because I am, but let’s be honest that shit’s pretty punk / and punk is lame, and I’m so tired of it all / so let me die, I’ll see you at my funeral.”

Mary Wander follows with two songs “I Feel Like a Woman” and “Song 4 Mom”. While I was less impressed with these two tunes than LNL’s, their music was in the same lane, and was a very smooth transition from one to the other. Their first track is clearly a representation of the continued misogynism that lives in our society, and they do a great job of describing what it must feel like to be on the other end of such harassment. “I feel like a woman today / like no one wants to listen to the words that I say” sting as they belt the lyrics out throughout the chorus. The second song is less aggressive, more introspective, and a scale better when viewing the music without the lyrics. Their acoustic guitar is played smoothly, yet full of textures, and it is amazing that they are able to do so being a one-person band.

Apes end the album, and I have to say that I was the slightest bit disappointed in their showing. I loved both of the tracks that were on the split, but neither of them were as good as anything on their last full length. Bandcamp indicated that one of the songs was written five plus years ago, when the lead singer had first gotten herself sober, and that she really wanted to record the track, which likely means it has a much more personal feeling for her than it would for me, so I suppose that is understandable. The final track “Hot Summer Night” lacked the perfection I was accustomed to from an Apes’ tune, from a rhythmic perspective. I can’t pinpoint what was missing, but something was. It wasn’t the lyrics, as she is always able to string together a perfect story put to a cleaner folk-punk style of music.

Regardless of my disappointment, I am now a permanent fan of not just Apes of the State, but also Local News Legend and Mary Wander. I can’t imagine a better three-way split, now that I’ve heard this one. It was beautiful, simple, spiritual, and all three of these bands have bright futures ahead of them.