Happy Days With Apples In Stereo

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,

happy-go-lucky reverence.

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,

long time.