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On their sophomore long-player, Oddeyesee, D.C. denizens the Apes try hard to answer an unlikely musical question: What would happen if Deep Purple got together with the Fleshtones for a big ol’ slumber-party jam session? The common theme running through those extremes is the disc’s full-throttle church organ, which Ape-woman Amanda Kleinman plays with the kind of bombastic abandon usually reserved for arena-rock drum solos. But though they’ve got gusto to burn and a can’t-miss sonic idea, the Apes’ execution, unfortunately, ain’t up to snuff. On tracks such as the strutting “Imagik” and the album’s ponderous set-closer, “Drop the Bomb!!,” the band never quite sets Purple-style fire to the sky. And such would-be party-starters as “Aboard the Ark” and “WorWiz’s Modern Problems” are missing the spastic verve that made the ‘Tones punk-hovel faves back in the Reagan era. Plus—how could it not with a title like Oddeyesee?—the disc comes loaded with concept-album baggage. (Suffice it to say the story features “videogame-addicted hunchbacks,” a “maniacally focused visionary” named Jackie Magik, and “nuclear annihilation by the dirty bombs of the WorWiz.”) To be fair, the whole thing is laced with large quantities of sarcasm and good humor—and the Emerson Lake & Palmer-like instrumental “While Majestic Ape Sleeps” is humorous indeed. But after a pretty thrilling debut (2001’s The Fugue in the Fog) and a not-bad follow-up EP (2002’s Street Warz), the Apes are swinging from the short end of the vine. —Shannon Zimmerman