“Who the fuck wants to be on a label with The Stereophonics?”
That was Richie Egan’s statement towards the end of Friday night’s Crawdaddy Gig as after just one E.P. (‘Jape is Grape’), he is no longer on V2 Records. He was happy to announce that he has moved to CoOp Records, which seems to be an indie record label cooperative which is backed by V2.
It must be a frustrating time for Richie/Jape – an album pretty much in the can for quite a while with songs he’s been playing for a few years, release dates constantly delayed and then just as it’s all ready to go, V2 close down in Ireland. But apparently the album is still to be released early next year as planned and going by last night’s gig, it should live up to expectations. The current Jape incarnation is a very different beast to that of ‘Cosmosphere’ or even, ‘The Monkeys in the Zoo Have More Fun Than Me’. The current sound has all systems set to New Order (no bad thing) but the songs are wittier, stronger and more direct than ever. Where, in the past, ‘Floating’ used to stick out in their set as the obvious highlight, it is now overshadowed by the likes of ‘I was a Man’, ‘Gimme Some More’ and ‘Strike Me Down’. One quiet solo acoustic song managed to get the crowd to shut up until Richie got the crowd to join in for a singalong chorus. ‘Christopher And Anthony’ seems to have inherited a superb African guitar coda not present on the studio version and the latter half of ‘Floating’ has morphed into a gurning rave monster. No complaints here.
It will be interesting to see how the lads fare outside of Ireland and if they get the success they deserve. Judging by their current set of tunes and clobber, they may well get pigeonholed as a Nu-Rave act, alongside the likes of Hot Chip and Klaxons, although that may not be where their mindset is. But it will be the festivals where Jape will really get the chance to shine and win hearts, minds and pelvises the world over. Here’s hoping.
Footage of Jape performing ‘Gimme Some More’ at the T1 Ramp in Austin, Texas above