The Apples in Stereo

Robert Schneider is up to his usual tricks on The Apples' first album in five long years, assembling effervescent pop gems from the echoes of his favorite records of the psychedelic '60s (with the occasional nod to Electric Light Orchestra and, possibly, the Partridge Family). It's hard to say what inspired the seemingly endless supply of unrelated instrumental segues. It could be that Schneider was hoping to make the album feel a little artier, less like a singles collection. But there's no real obscuring the singles-collection appeal here, not with highlights as infectious as the raucous lead-off track, "Can You Feel It?", the Velvets-gone-bubblegum charms of "Skyway," or the wistful, Left Banke-meets-the-Kinks appeal of "Play Tough." And anyone looking for proof that The Apples can think outside the jukebox is hereby directed to have your mind blown by the epic four-song suite they've buried 21 tracks in. It begins as a rocker with ELO harmonies, downshifts into atmospheric psychedelic folk with space-rock keyboards, works its way through a section of bittersweet pop, and closes with a mighty wall of psychedelic fuzz and strings that rocks like Spacemen 3 on downers.


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