When it seems like every band on the planet is trying to prove how
angry, anxious and anguished they are, Robert Schneider and his
Denver-based band, Apples in Stereo, cough up Tone Soul
Evolution and politely excuse themselves from the fray.
In the Apples' world, days go by peacefully. Life and its depths are
plumbed with soft introspection. Joy, sorrow and things
remembered: All are handled delicately, with a kind of quiet,
At 14 tracks in length, the Apples stock Evolution with finely
molded throwback pop-rock, drafting a simple style with Beach
Boys-like harmonies and Beatlesque arrangements. A worthy
follow-up to the superb Fun Trick Noisemaker, these songs
are like Goldilocks' bedding of choice. Never too hard or too soft,
they're just right.
By subscribing to the less-is-more school of symphonics, the
Apples have traditionally taken the lo-fi road and had their work
recorded in eight-track. Evolution lives up to its namesake:
Schneider, tiptoeing up to the edge of high-fidelity, recorded his
latest gem on a 24-track machine. The expansive sound works
beautifully and his experiment with a broader production effort
pays off handsomely.
Evoking the simplicity of a Dr. Seuss tale, Schneider writes lyrics
that diverge from contemporary tastes, opting instead for basic
rhymes and meter. With a gentle croon reminiscent of George
Harrison, Schneider, in "What's the #?", sings out, "I see you
around, up and down town./ What's your name? I'll write it down./
I'll see you next time, drop you a line./ What's your number? Lend
me a dime." The carefree melody is colored by buzzy guitar work --
an Apples' staple -- and like almost everything else here, it's light
and fun without being thin or frivolous.
If his songwriting is any indication, Schneider must spend a lot of
time sleeping because several songs refer to dreams. In "The
Silvery Light of a Dream," Schneider sings, "Dreams come to
dreamers at night/ Tell of the sights you have seen/ Silvery light of
a dream/ Saw you last night and you seemed/ Lost in a dream..."
Laced with sweet melancholy, it tells of love lost and the need to
heal, and its wistful delivery and dulcet tone exemplify the easy
grace with which the Apples make pop music shine.
Layered yet uncomplicated, Tone Soul Evolution is music
made the way it used to be and refreshingly new at the same time.
By taking rock to the same places it's never been, the Apples in
Stereo will make your stereo sound better than it has in a long,