The History of Apple Pie’s obsession with the sweetness of life is evident from their name to their album cover and it’s consistent throughout their music. Each of the ten songs on their debut album Out of View is a rocket; vibrant and unrelentingly shooting forward in blasts of impassioned guitars without even giving a single thought to stop and try something fancy, until they reach their fiery conclusions.
Out of View beholds the energy of a quintet of young men and women dreaming big about their futures. It’s the kind of music that encourages your mind to dream out loud at a hundred miles an hour, no matter your surroundings. Their sound owes plenty to noise-rock bands of the early 90s, while some of the slicker sounding songs like “The Warrior” and “Get It Wrong,” owe nods to some of the bigger guitar bands of the 2000s like Silversun Pickups. It’s easy to go through Out of View and tick off a list of bands that are obvious influences, but the way in which The History of Apple Pie take the sounds they love and throw so much of their own emphasis behind them makes it difficult not to love them. Several of these songs see them reaching for the stratosphere sonically in the home stretch, and every time they seem to get there on pure force of will and happiness alone. The guitars are often snarling and interplaying, but they never seem like they’re dueling or trying to outdo each other, rather they’re all working together and building towards the same mammoth aural sensation.
The album’s lyrics time and time again return to star-crossed lovers and metaphysical-connections-through-dreams type themes, which fit with the band’s wide-eyed approach, and also hark back to the types of songs that bands like The Smashing Pumpkins made in their prime. The fact that the lyrics are mostly audible is a rarity on an album that nods so regularly to shoegaze’s fuzz, but it shows The History of Apple Pie’s emphasis on making pop songs. Female vocals in dream pop aren’t uncommon, but the vocal interplay between Stephanie Min and Kelly Owens is undoubtedly one of their most potent weapons. Not as somber as Slowdive/Mojave 3’s Rachel Goswell and less showy than Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser, their saccharine simplicity adds a punch to the emphatic single “See You.” The way they entwine and combine on “I Want More” makes the less overtly-poppy track into the album’s sleeper highlight. And the way they guide the eternal build on the album’s monolithic conclusion, “Before You Reach The End,” is something to behold. There are multiple simplistic vocal hooks tucked brilliantly into each track on the album.
In 2011, Yuck’s debut album became one of the most replayed of the year due to its repurposing of slacker rock tropes into modern alt-rock pop songs. The History of Apple Pie’s Out of View is doing much the same thing, but with more of a bent towards the melodies than the aesthetic. The album is sequenced in such a way that there’s barely a pause to catch your breath between tracks; as soon as the buzz of the last one has died you’re sucked into another blast of guitars. This helps in getting swept up in the giddy youthfulness of the album. The band have taken their influences with their own abilities and made an album that is as accessible as it is excitable, and seems set to capture the hearts and imaginations of young lovers everywhere.
Plugging away since 1999, The National finally hit mainstream success with the release of their 2010 album High Violet. Of course, this entailed their first world tour, but in the new documentary Mistaken For Strangers, it’s only the backdrop for the relationship between lead singer Matt Berninger and his younger brother Tom, who had no idea that these short videos he was shooting would turn into a public document of their troubled, if still loving brotherhood.
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