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Look Away + 4 [EP]

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Album Review

This five-song EP finds the Apples in Stereo in fine compositional form and typically at ease with their style of chameleonlike pop music. Sure, the Beach Boys/Beatles references are undeniable on Look Away + Four, but that's missing the point. Chances are, if it's pop of any form, it's made its way into the Apples' music. Sometimes influences are allowed to intermingle. Other times, disparate production sensibilities run back to back. On "Behind the Waterfall" for instance, the Apples give Fab Four stylings a new twist, as the band plays psychedelic carnival music from underwater (hence the title). Singer Robert Schneider carries on as if it's business as usual. He remains unfazed when the band breaks out with impromptu chunks of distortion-fueled power chords from an entirely different song. The boisterous title track is more straightforward. A melody driven by tightly packed, nasally Beach Boys-style harmonies is punctuated with '70s soft rock horns. Similar is the infectious fuzzy jangle of the slacker ode "Everybody Let Up." Dedicated to the act of lying around, it opens with the lines, "I get such an easy feelin'/When I'm staring at the ceiling/From the morning to the evening/That's the life for me." Drummer Hilary Sidney even steps up to the mike and delivers a touching, whispery vocal on the light, bossa nova-ish ballad "Her Pretty Face." Look Away is as good an introduction as any to the overflowing pop vibrations of the Apples in Stereo.


Formed: 1993 in Denver, CO

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Sunny pop band the Apples in Stereo were one of the leading lights of the Elephant 6 Recording Company collective, a coterie of likeminded lo-fi indie groups -- including the Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Secret Square -- who shared musicians, ideas, and sensibilities. They were led by singer/songwriter Robert Schneider, a native of the tiny town of Ruston, LA, also home to Jeff Mangum (later of Neutral Milk Hotel) as well as William Cullen Hart and Bill Doss (who formed the Olivia...
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