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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review: The Apples in Stereo: "Travellers in Space and Time"

There are few bands in the indie world that garner as much name recognition and instant-respect as The Apples in Stereo. The band has been bringing their unique brand of pop music to fans for nearly two decades at this point; changing their sound throughout the process and therefore ensuring that they’ve created something for everybody. On Travellers in Space and Time, their seventh full-length album, the band offers up one of their most solid collection in years – and they do so by taking some fairly bold steps.

The most notable influence on Travellers has to be 70s-era disco music, which shows up on songs like “Hey Elevator,” “No One in the World” or “Dance Floor.” The former is a dance-along, sing-along pop masterpiece in and of itself, and the album’s greatest asset. Of course, The Apples are no strangers to singable pop songs, but it’s rare that one has been this instantly-enjoyable and able to hold its own after several repeat listens. “Dance Floor,” doesn’t have as strong of a melody, but it too pulls off the band’s new dance sound flawlessly. It’s the safe bet for the first single, for sure, but it’s certainly worthy of such a title.

One of the band’s best attributes is that they have always been able to mix pop and rock in such a manner that it hearkens back to some of the best music of the past. Whether its 60s rock or disco, The Apples are masters at blending those sounds with more modern twists; like a vocoder or synthesizer. “Dignified Dignitary” is a great example of this, with its heavy guitars and drums, but equally powerful melody. The band has drawn Beatles comparisons in the past, but their effect on Robert Schneider’s songwriting has rarely been so clear as it is here, or on “It’s All Right.”

And like The Beatles, the hooks just keep on coming. Travellers in Space and Time is one of the catchiest albums I’ve heard in months, not to mention one of the best! Aside from your typical Apples in Stereo fodder like a vocoder-only song (“Strange Solar System”) or tracks that aren’t music but just samples of something else (“The Code” or “Time Pilot”), Travellers is a surprisingly solid album and easily one of the band’s best! “C.P.U.” is mostly-awful due to its insistence on trying to make dissonance catchy, but every other song on here is great! As a pop album, one can rest assured that a few of these songs will lose their appeal after a certain amount of listens. The surprising thing about Travellers in Space and Time isn’t this fact, but rather the amount of quality songs that will no doubt go further. Any Apples fan has got to check this one out. I highly recommend it.

Key Tracks:
1. "Dream About the Future"
2. "Hey Elevator"
3. "Dignified Dignitary"
4. "No Vacation"
5. "Nobody But You"

8 out of 10 Stars

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