Le Pepes – All Fun Things End

Le Pepes
All Fun Things End

Sounding like a cross between Goo-era Sonic Youth and Beat Happening, Le Pepes is at times pleasantly listenable – “Renting a Space Station” – and at other times surprisingly violent (see “Fragile”). The 13 songs found on All Fun Things End were recorded between 1996 and 1998, the group having disbanded officially in 1999.
The laid-back (lo-fi if you must) approach Le Pepes took to committing the sound to tape is apparent from the start: At the end of album opener “Bigwheel Trickery,” a voice can be heard saying “Uh, make sure you sing into the mic.” Sometimes this approach works in Le Pepes’ favor. On “Another J in the Letter Chain,” the ba-ba-ba sing-along chorus and poppy drums make Le Pepes sound like the best basement band ever. In contrast, on songs like “My Spaceship Flies on the Rocket Survival Course,” the vocals and drums sound as if they were recorded in a closet lined with lead.
“Nice Guy Comes in Last” is the strongest song here, though what is being shouted can’t be made out through the din. Is it “I’m your number-one band” or “I’m your number-one Dad”? “Tickle Tragedy” finds the band sans drums, exposing a “softer” side. “Super Duper Rad” is a sugar-fueled number, with the title being the main refrain sung over beach-movie-meets-spy-movie guitar. “Comfortable Silence” is quite a bit darker; featuring heavily distorted lead vocals broken up by melodic girl vocals on the chorus.
Album closer “Touchdown for the Visitors Side” sounds curiously like Modest Mouse, though it’s really not that surprising, given the mish mash of influences sprinkled throughout All Fun Things End. If the band had stuck around longer, perhaps it could have gotten focused and made a truly great album (Le Pepes released several cassettes throughout the short career). Even considering Le Pepes was operating under the lo-fi aesthetic, some of the songs on All Fun Things End sound like they were never meant to see the light of day. However, when they’re good, they’re really good, and All Fun Things End highlights a band that held quite a bit of promise.