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Chariots of Fire

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Album Review

On their second album, Nashville indie trio Apollo Up! refuses to stick to one specific musical style. "Cut Up," for example, unexpectedly delves into the kind of A Certain Ratio style early-'80s Brit funk recently rediscovered by a generation of Franz Ferdinand followers, complete with spiky trumpet interjections. Further along, on "Even if You Don't Die" and "Custom Critical," lead singer Jay Leo Phillips trots out a startlingly accurate impersonation of the young Elvis Costello set to Ted Leo-style blends of punk and old-school R&B. Later still, "Tennessee for Victory" is a bracing two-minute pop-punk blast with a fists-in-the-air chorus. The connecting thread of all of this is the bristling energy captured by producer Jeremy Ferguson, whose early work with the vaguely similar Be Your Own Pet carries a similar frisson. It's extremely easy to pick out the influences on Chariots of Fire — way too easy, in fact — but there's a spark of creativity to this young band that suggests that their future albums may integrate these influences into something more unique.

Biography

Formed: 2002 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Nashville post-hardcore trio Apollo Up! blends punky aggression with a fondness for tricky song structures and unexpected dynamic shifts, creating a cerebral but impassioned sound equally akin to the deceptively accessible experimentalism of Ted Leo & the Pharmacists and the cool intensity of Fugazi. After several years spent slogging through a variety of minor local outfits with names like Lotushalo and the Shakedown Cruise, Alabama-born singer and guitarist Jay Leo Phillips, bassist Mike Shepherd,...
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Chariots of Fire, Apollo Up!
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