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New Magnetic Wonder

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Reseña de álbum

New Magnetic Wonder, the Apples in Stereo's return after a five-year hiatus, is one of their best records in a career made up of consistently fine recordings. Anyone expecting a return to the experimental, lo-fi wizardry of their early albums may feel let down by New Magnetic Wonder, but on the other hand, anyone fearing a return to the bland stripped-down and noisy sound of Velocity of Sound need not worry. What they have delivered instead is a crisply recorded set of bouncing rockers, sweetly strummed ballads, and vaguely trippy mid-tempo tracks that are full of hooks, melodies, and goofy fun. Over a base of solidly rocking bass, guitar, and drums (as well as Robert Schneider's reliably chirpy vocals), the band and their cohorts (the credits read like an E6 who's who, including Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, Bill Doss and W. Cullen Hart of the Olivia Tremor Control, and John Fernandes, who has played clarinet with just about all the E6 bands) create a rich soundscape of Mellotron, backing vocals, percussion, and vintage keyboards that envelops the record in a warm and lush haze at times and fills it with sunshine at others. Even more than previous Apples releases, it's a record that won't win any points for being profound or meaningful. Tracks like "Can You Feel It?" or "Energy" are breezy to the point of invisible, but if they don't get you singing along like a fool right away, you've probably come to the wrong party and should go find a Bright Eyes record instead. The more sedate tunes that dominate the second half of the record, like the yearning and psychedelic "Open Eyes" or the melancholy "Radiation," give the album some balance (and in the Mellotron-soaked epic "Beautiful Machine, Pts. 3-4," one of the record's finest moments), but it's the charming fluff like "Same Old Drag" and "Play Tough" that wins the day in the end. The Apples' successful return to the indie scene should be hailed with a hearty embrace (and a tear for the departure of drummer Hilarie Sidney, whose two contributions to the record, "Sundial Song" and "Sunday Sounds," are quite nice) for anyone who likes their pop silly but intelligently played and arranged. Welcome back, Apples!

Reseñas de clientes

Positive Attraction

The Apples in Stereo are back with a worthy evolution to 2002's "Velocity of Sound." Like "Velocity," "New Magnetic Wonder" offers us accessible, smile-filled, foot-tapping positivity and goodness. Thankfully, however, "Wonder" is nearly twice as long and filled with more range than than the pop-punk heavy "Velocity." "Can You Feel It?" leads off "Wonder" with a 70s flare that echoes throughout the album. In addition to a talk-box Frampton-esque flavor, there is a sunny catchiness found in ditties like "Play Tough" and "Sun Is Out," both of which might've shown up in a soda commercial back in the day, and in "My Pretend" which, however briefly, calls to mind something from Harry Nilsson's "The Point." Songs like "Energy" and "Radiation" are emblematic of the karmic beneficence that the Apples in Stereo always deliver with honesty, without coming off saccharine or glib. Peppered here and there, meanwhile, are seriously pretty and haunting Jon Brion-like Mellotron pieces. Don't be surprised if the Apples jump further to the forefront of our consciousness on the heels of this album. Hard work and serendipity have already seen them sign on with Elijah Wood's new label, Simian Records, appear on the Colbert Report this past December (where front man Robert Schneider played with Peter Frampton) and, just recently, get voted by the fans into London's ATP Festival.

A Power Pop Classic

This is album everyone expected after Tone Soul Evolution. And it is worth the wait. While 'Discovery' and 'Velocity' are excellent albums in their own right, I don't think I was alone in thinking that the Apples were capable of more. Granted, it's only early February, but this is one of the most enjoyable and brilliant albums that will be released this year. (One criticism, I kind of think the "interlude pieces" like Mellotron 1 and 2, Crimson, etc... are unnecessary. But that's just nitpicking.)

Auditory bliss

This is an album that will actually cause you to physically smile. It's like rainbows exploding in my brain, man.

Biografía

Fecha de formación: Denver, CO, 1993

Género: Alternativa

Años de actividad: '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...
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