Saturday, October 25, 2014

Feel Something

The History of Apple Pie
Feel Something
(Marshall Teller)

I love love love the 2013 debut album Out of View by The History of Apple Pie (see #2 pick of the year here).  I cannot emphasize this enough.  What it lacks in all out originality (really, what is truly original these days?), it more than makes up with sheer exuberance.  Rarely have I come across an album so filled with a clear and tangible energy.  That album bleeds with a rush of electricity and momentum and never ceases to paste a grin upon my stupid face,

Well, that was 2013, and now they are already back (like bands used to do – release an album about once a year) with their second full length.  Not a lot has changed, except bassist Kelly Lee Owens has been replaced by new member Joanna Curwood.  The band is still spearheaded by the wonderfully adorable Stephanie Min and gurus Jerome Watson and Aslam Ghauri, whose twin guitar assaults continue to astound with force rather than intricacy.  This time around, the sheer runaway whoosh of their music is tempered a bit.  That rarely captured runaway train that is their debut feels more studied here and it stifles the initial impression.  This is visceral music that tends to sound better the louder it goes, so reeling in the reigns takes a bit of getting used to.  Luckily, the band has added a little more variety to the mix to make up for the less aggressive attack.

We initially got a glimpse of their minor expansion with last year’s single “Don’t You Wanna Be Mine?”  This bouncy – echo laden pop number has more in common with early Inspiral Carpets than anything they’ve done before, especially with the addition of some crazy organ and a dance vibe.  This album is more spacious and open overall – allowing these new sounds to make their impact in a subtle way.  There’s 60’s groovy sound of “Special Girl,” which adds more new wrinkles with buzzing keyboards and what at times sounds like someone letting squealing air out of a balloon.  The piano driven shuffle of the other pre-LP single “Tame” again brings some addictive elements, even if it doesn’t have the same urgency of their earliest singles like “Mallory” and “See You,” but check out the amazing drum roll transitions from drummer James Thomas!  Wow!   The newest single “Jamais Vu” (or never seen) strikes maybe the perfect balance between where this band has come from to where they may be headed.  The song includes more deft musicianship and space, but they let things loose and unleash some serious noise during the chorus (“Who cares?  I don’t”). 

Unlike their debut this album took me a few extra listens before its charms began to batter their way into my thick skull.  The cracks started with the final three songs.  The stumbling, off-kilter beat of “Ordinary Boy,” at first feels discombobulating, until its quick transition into a wide open massive addictive sing-along chorus and I love the bridge with their trademark simple scales style guitar “solo” that is really a layering technique for an explosive instrumental rush.  Next up, the penultimate song “Snowball,” which should be a freaking huge radio hit all across the globe, reclaims this band’s strength of creating super sugary sweet melodies within bubbling over noisy chaos and I never want it to end.  Finally, the album closes with “Just Like This,” which acts as a perfect dreamy conclusion to a pretty good collection.

It will be very interesting to see where The History of Apple Pie decide to go next, but in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the smiles they’ve been giving me the last 18 months.  What a treat.

The History of Apple Pie "Jamais Vu"


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