Crap name for a band maybe, but as The History Of Apple Pie themselves state, if that’s the biggest thing for critics to worry about then that’s good news. And by all accounts it is the biggest complaint. By far.
The London five-piece eventually released their debut Out Of View in January 2013 after a few years honing their skills and it proved to be a good move, the particularly solid, melodic ‘90s shoegaze influenced sound garnering praise from many quarters. And fans will be pleased to hear that follow up Feel Something continues in much the same vein.
Having taken 18 months or so to finalise the debut – including a complete scrapping and re-recording – Feel Something arrives in comparatively quickfire fashion. Ten fresh new tracks dripping with sweet shoegaze honey make up the second offering following a stint at London’s Sublime Studios, with friend and previous collaborator Josh Hayward of The Horrors contributing to production duties alongside the band’s own Jerome Watson.
The first glimpse of the new material surfaced last year in the shape of Don’t You Wanna Be Mine, a foot-tapping beat of tambourines and descending guitar scrawl do most of the early work before the fuzz-soaked guitar conclusion really hits the mark. Tame then followed, a four-chord piano intro lead to fuzzy guitars and pounding drums; guitars then weave another four-chord pattern, joined by an intriguing, wavering guitar melody and decent if simplistic guitar solo. It’s a lovely, infectious little number but it’s crying out for a more adventurous guitar solo, the lack of which sadly seems to be prevalent in many a guitar band’s make-up these days, apart from the likes of The War On Drugs for example; safe, one might say.
Album curtain raiser Come Undone is awash with shimmering shoegaze guitars amidst constantly pounding percussion, weirdly wavering harmonics entering the fray alongside Stephanie Min’s soothingly hushed vocals. Keep Wondering is driven by an incessant tambourine beat, bouncing along to a fuzzy guitar melody that bubbles under the surface before bursting through for a sugary chorus. An ever so slightly more adventurous guitar solo then repeats four times to break up the sparkling sweetness.
The excellent Jamais Vu appears in a flash of Garbage-like quivering guitaring, another bouncy effort that skips along to a fuzzy chorus to make for a catchy, highly enjoyable cut also boasting more simple yet effective guitar soloing. The racing, percussion pummelling chorus of Snowball is another highlight amidst militaristic drumming, more sublime yet unchallenging guitaring and a bass line that oddly recalls Ben E King’s Stand By Me. Just Like This screams of Ride influence, the fuzzy guitar melody could easily be lifted from their Going Blank Again album and then there’s a brief organ interlude recalling Primal Scream’s Come Together – it’s another highly enjoyable track.
A heavier Cream-like fuzz adorns Special Girl, primitive keyboard sounds in the style of early Athlete then appearing, but the track descends into a slightly chaotic guitar-heavy mess with no standout melody, whilst Puzzles follows a more minimal approach, with a wavy melody boosted by a burst of fuzz-heavy guitar towards its conclusion before freeform drumming leads back to its quieter origins. A punky guitar introduces Ordinary Boy, soft vocals then leading to an unoriginal sounding chorus, but a lovely little guitar melody then materialises like a sugary nugget of perfection.
It’s difficult to dislike any of the tracks here. Shoegaze fans should love it and there’s many a sweet melody to keep plenty of others fully engaged too. Very occasionally there is an element of mediocrity and you do feel that they could easily raise themselves to the next level, but for now this is another delicious helping of Apple Pie. Tuck in.