The Apples in Stereo Velocity of Sound

[spinART; 2002]

Styles: power-pop, indie rock
Others: Beulah, the Zombies, Beachwood Sparks, Of Montreal

Shall I compare thee to a can of Jolt? As apt as this analogy may seem, and as suitably quaint as it no doubt is here in the DeLorean, it doesn’t quite do justice to the Apples in Stereo’s fourth full-length, a record whose pleasures persist far longer than even the gnarliest sugar-cum-caffeine buzz possibly could.

Velocity of Sound marks a departure from what most would recognize as the Apples in Stereo sound, and this may help to explain why it typically takes a back seat to Fun Trick Noisemaker and Her Wallpaper Reverie in discussions of the band. While it retains traces of the psych-rock that made those records such benchmarks of the ‘60s revival, it’s a bit of an anomaly in their discography””not nearly as experimental as Noisemaker or as druggy as Reverie, and far less refined than its immediate predecessor, The Discovery of a World Inside the Moone. All Apples in Stereo records share a certain ebullience, but with heavily distorted guitars relentlessly driving it forward from start to finish, Velocity of Sound is decidedly harder and louder than the band’s earlier experiments with the sounds of psychedelia.

Robert Schneider’s nasally vocals might initially grate on some ears, but beyond that, the album is almost uniformly enjoyable. First-time listeners should be careful, for example, not to impale themselves on the hooks in “That’s Something I Do” and “Do You Understand?” But while Hillarie Sidney’s contributions””“Rainfall” and “I Want”””both merit mention, “Mystery” is the cream of the crop here, standing second only to “Shine (In Your Mind)” as my favorite Apples in Stereo song of all time.

Velocity of Sound is not going to blow your mind, like Fun Trick Noisemaker, or have you thumbing reverentially through your parents’ record collection in search of its influences, like Her Wallpaper Reverie. Still, it would be a shame if it became a footnote in the biography of a band remembered only for its more daring and sophisticated output. This sounds strange, I know, but Velocity of Sound is full of wonderfully simple, visceral rock music with the power to pick you up, again and again, for a long time to come.

1. Please
2. Rainfall
3. That's Something I Do
4. Do You Understand?
5. Where We Meet
6. Better Days
7. I Want
8. Mystery
9. Baroque
10. She's Telling Lies (Bryce's Mix)