Like the messer with brains back in school, time spent with Fight Like Apes can make you feel good about life or wind you up no end - sometimes both in the same song.

Stronger than their 2008 debut, the tracks here are less skittish and more memorable; time spent on the road has tightened the quartet up hugely while the decision to record live with Gang of Four's Andy Gill as producer was inspired.

The feeling persists, however, that in order to have the shelf life they deserve, Fight Like Apes should ditch the comfort blanket of wackiness completely and play it straight all the time.

Their talent for mixing aggression ('Hoo Ha Henry' pummels like the best punk) and tenderness ('Thank God You Weren't Thirsty' is beautiful - until the screaming starts) is special, but it seems like an act of self-sabotage for the band not to present themselves in the best way possible.

Harry Guerin