The Green Bananas are the garage-soul side project of Straight Arrows front man Owen Penglis comprised of whatever bandmates and Sydney rock dogs are free to make the madness happen. Having released debut 45 The Ape, through UK label Agitated Records, to coincide with the announcement of the project’s existence. The group vanished as quickly as it was announced. Fast forward a year and a follow-up EP titled The Ape of Safari has surfaced, via ABC Music, although the release is classified as “Children’s” the sheer absurdity and execution of Penglis’ garage-soul experiment is bloody appealing.
The Ape on Safari is six tracks of ape-centric wild garage-soul, that wouldn’t sound astray amongst one King O.P.P’s DJ sets. A rework of The Ape titled Do The Ape kicks the EP off, the female vocal which is much cleaner than the original. Serenade of the sweetest order Bananas For You is a highlight and features the highest fidelity Penglis vocal we can remember hearing. Orangutan Walk is a party from start to finish, a surefire dancefloor hit. Out Of My Tree is a classic exploring the twists and turns of ape relationships. You’re Trying To Make a Baboon Out of Me is the gnarliest track on the record, a call out to those scumbags looking to pull a fast one on their fellow apes. Closing the record is a rework of the original instrumental B-Side The Green Banana with monkey noises inserted throughout the track. The Green Bananas know how to make the most of their knowledge of sixties soul, rhythm and blues and garage rock to craft a brilliant release we don’t want to believe is aimed at children.
While we’re dying to hear new Straight Arrows material, The Green Bananas will sustain us for now.