Tone Soul Revolution (Spin Art ’97) Rating: B+
The happiest sounding band in the Elephant 6 collective which also includes Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control, and Beulah (among others), Apples In Stereo’s throwback power pop uses The Beatles and Beach Boys as obvious templates, though their ragged lo-fi production touches should also appeal to fans of Guided By Voices and Pavement. Though a million pop bands have sought to mine this kind of territory before, this band has learned their pop lessons well. Above all else, this is a simple but fun album that takes me to a sunny musical climate that's far away from any angsty Gen-X gloom. That said, though the guitars jangle, the harmonies soar, and the “ba ba ba” backing vocals are undeniably infectious, there’s little here that will likely stay with you after the last note, as Apples In Stereo clearly fall under the “pleasant ear candy” umbrella. Part of me wishes that they were a little tougher, and I’d be hard pressed to repeat a lyric, but this just means that they’re not as good as their heroes, which is certainly no crime and is frankly to be expected. Besides, these sweet melodies are highly satisfying in their own admittedly faceless way, and many of these summery pop songs sound really good coming out of sun-baked speakers.