THE APPLES IN STEREO Travellers In Space And Time (Yep Rock)
Regular readers of this column will know that I am bit fan of The Apples In Stereo, but it has been so long since their last album that even I thought that they had broken. Not the case, though, as this artifact so ably demonstrates. Dream About The Future shows that the summery pop tunes of old are present and correct, with this bouncy number hitting all the right notes, and the nod to ELO in the use of the vocoder is just a hint of what is to come on this album. Hey Elevator has something of a Pet Shop Boys vibe to the vocals but the chorus is TAIS all the way, and Strange Solar System is a weird little acapella vocoder piece which luckily does not outstay its welcome. Dance Floor is as the title suggests a disco/pop tune with a funky groove and textured vocals which takes all the best bits of 70s disco and welds them to a sumptuous pop melody. C.P.U. is a heavy rocker (or as heavy as they will ever get) with a crunching rhythm interspersed with electronic bleeps, and a surprisingly robust Schneider vocal. No One In The World has a horn section which gives it something of a soul feel, and the catchy chorus just adds to the joyous feel of the music. The power chords that open Dignified Dignitary herald this as a power-pop gem, which it is, while No Vacation is another upbeat rocker, featuring something you dont hear too much these days - a piano solo. Told You Once is a radio-friendly pop song, but as the band dont tend to release singles it is unlikely you will ever hear it there. Next Year At About The Same Time is another powerpop delight, with composer Eric Allen taking over lead vocals for his song, and Floating In Space shows that Schneider knows when to hold back on the bombast, with the stripped back sound giving this song an ethereal feel. Nobody But You is a soaring pop tune that once again owes a fair bit to Jeff Lynne, while Wings Away is written and sung by new boy Bill Doss, and a fine job he makes of it as well. Time Pilot closes the album (unless you have the vinyl version where you get a bonus track in Non-Pythagorean Composition No. 5) with a voice instructing you in self-hypnosis before the short track floats by and the voice comes back to bring you out of your trance. So, yet another fine album by the criminally under-rated Apples In Stereo, and whether this will bring them some mainstream success we will have to wait and see. Perhaps because they purvey a sort of music that is not seen as cool they will remain in the underground, but lets hope can struggle to the surface with this one.