With an opening track urging listeners to “turn up the stereo and turn off the bullshit on the FM radio,” Apples in Stereo’s latest full length record, New Magnetic Wonder, demands our attention and delivers.
While the abundance of 30-second filler clips make it impossible to suggest every track is a winner, this is still a great album that offers a variety of mood-boosting sing-alongs with yells, whispers and robotic voices.
“Can You Feel It?” is their anthemic introduction, boasting a catchy riff, a booming chorus and a group vocal/clap breakdown that makes a drizzly morning commute feel like an afternoon at the bumper cars.
The record continues with a more mellow but equally refreshing tone, taking hold with “Same Old Drag’s” wistful lamentations about familiar peeves and the reassuring tone of “Sunndal Song” for those times when it feels like, “the moon is forgetting to shine on us.”
The album ends with a celebration of individuality through a four-part song titled “Beautiful Machines,” combining the band’s many previous styles and adding a touch of shoegaze. The final tracks are short closers commenting on how fast time flies, pleading that we “stay for dinner.”
Instrumental presentation is well done with a judicious use of electronic sampling to enhance the rhythm section without disturbing the folky flow of the vocal lines. Their odd ability to do meld folk and midi stems from a choice of tones that sound like brighter versions of acoustic instruments or quirky human voices. In either case, the results are fresh, lively and relatable.
Synthesizers and robotic voices abound and definitely contribute a sense of “geek rock” to this record, which serves as a deal breaker for some. Nevertheless, New Magnetic Wonder is a victory for those awaiting a record to help achieve an enlightened state of bliss free from ignorance and great example of sunny pop at its best: energetic, comfortable with disappointment, humorous, and a substitute for 40 minutes of your preferred FM station. – (8/10)