Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Apples In Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder (Yep Roc, 2007)

I find it hard to beleive the fact it's been five years since The Apples In Stereo released Velocity Of Sound. I'm not sure if you feel like this or not, but before we go anywhere i'll get it out of the way that this year's New Magnetic Wonder is their best record to date. It's a damn shame that there aren't very many bands in existance today that are as immediately influenced by the mid-seventies masterpieces created by Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra. Critics often write ELO off by claiming that they were lackluster Beatles wannabes, not true. The Apples In Stereo have created a near perfect loose-concept album. That being said New Magnetic Wonder is similarily underappreciated by the critics such as, the hipster doofus' over at Pitchforkmedia (6.9/10?!?!). The sheer amount of catchy hooks and grandoise pop melodies to tap your feet to on this album are for lack of a better word,wonderful. In fact, the closest the Apples come to specifically stating any sort of sadness is during “Play Tough” when we’re told that “Saturday is not the ideal day to break up / Don't you know it takes a little time to wake up?” In addition, the band's leader and songwriter invented a new musical scale called the "Non-Pythagorean scale". No one needs to pretend they know that this means he used equations based on the properties of natural logarithms to replace the standard 12 tones in a musical octave with a different set of frequencies to know this is a very good thing. The more than impressive array of instrumentation used on this album, including mellotrons, cowbell's, clairnets, various electronic effects, and masses of radio-friendly distortion makes for an often mesmerizing kaleidoscope of sounds. But, if this review hasn't already sold you on this album I'm sure the mention that the reclusive Jeff Mangum plays the drums and the 'cow object' as well as provides handclaps and backing vocals on New Magnetic Wonder will get you to that record store. Simply stated, this album is a drug of rock riffs, psychedelic undertones, and bubblegum pop. It's a damn addicting one, and unfortunatley not enough people are junkies.

Preferred tracks: 7 Stars, Play Tough, Skyway, Sunday Sounds

Final Grade: B+

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