foxcat42 | Santa Cruz, CA | 12/12/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Before we get started here, I have a guilty confession: I like pop music. The really bouncy kind, the kind that's so sugary it could rot teeth. Or, to use another metaphor, music that sounds like someone stuffing prozac in your ears.
As such, it was love at first listen the first time I heard the Apples in Stereo. On earlier albums, I pictured Robert Schneider (the lead singer and primary songwriter) as something like Brian Wilson's hyperactive kid brother, compensating for his lack of musical or lyical depth and his tendency toward repetition with a boundless energy and optimism. And while I'm not placing, say, "Tone Soul Evolution" up there next to "Pet Sounds", I loved it.
So like the mindless consumer I am, "Velocity of Sound" came out and I skipped all the way to the record store and slapped my $15 or so on the counter without hearing a single track, popped the CD in my CD player and cried all the way home.Okay, that's an exaggeration. But not by much. I know they couldn't be shiny and happy forever, and it's good that they tried to climb out of the musical niche they had carved for themselves. But I've listened to it ten times, in good moods and bad, and I just can't force myself to like it. Change is good, but changing into a generic clone of The Strokes is bad, and that's what they did. They added a distorted guitar or so and tried to sing/shout over it (I'll admit here that the resulting vocals are occasionally less abrasive than the nasally ones we've come to know and tolerate), and decided that if they couldn't have good lyrics, they'd have lyrics that were harder to understand. In this confusion, they lost their melodies, which before were the selling point of their songs, leaving the bouncy listener humming it under her breath all day. What remains just sounds kind of tone-deaf.Given the recent "returning to the roots of rock" movement (whatever the name for it is I'm sure it's equally stupid), I can't help but feel like the Apples are attempting to gain a bigger fan base by riding in the wake of The Stokes/Hives/Vines. The result is something that manages to completely miss both the original Apples sound and the sound of the bands they seek to imitate. Here's hoping the next time they try to expand their style, they do it in a way that's a little more true to them."
Different, punky, happy, and fun
Mike Smith | Albuquerque, NM | 10/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Don't buy this album expecting to hear the clear guitar hooks of "Tin Pan Alley" or the goofy and nasal voices of "Go" and "The Bird that You Can't See."
But do buy this album.
This is The Apples in Stereo as a power-pop-punk outfit with countless catchy hooks, happy lyrics, but with everything swirling in a churning wave of fuzz and distortion. Fun and fast punk guitar, a great mix of various male and female vocals, the feels of 1950s radio ditties and 1960s surf rags and 1970s punk and 1990s crunch.... It's all here, and you will enjoy it, whether you're an Apples in Stereo fan or whether you've never heard them before but just like to rock out and feel good. Check it out."