Album Review: Bubblegum Graveyard by Apache Dropout
Very Good, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 80 Based on rating 8/10
Since the release of the Nuggets compilations in the early '70s helped ignite the revival of garage rock and psych, those descriptors have gotten muddled, tossed around to the point of almost losing their meaning, and generally making it a challenge to trace how the music has evolved over the intervening decades. Conversely, contemporary bands like Apache Dropout are on hand to carry the flame, stomping, shouting, and going bananas like it's 1966 with their real-deal, raw rock. In 2011, the Bloomington, Indiana-based trio hit the mark with their fuzzy, freaky, self-titled debut record, and with follow-up full-length Bubblegum Graveyard a year later, they slightly clean up the production while still capturing a red-eyed, acid-damaged vibe.
A trio of long-striving Midwestern music geeks, the members of Apache Dropout spent years riding the currents between punk and free-form noise only to wind up back in their Bloomington, Ind., basement bashing out Nuggets-worthy skronk-pop. It's a good thing they did: In a year crowded with psych-rock reboots and garage rock re-thinks, the band's 2011 self-titled debut stuck out. Rather than favoring the minimalism of 1980s UK groups like Spacemen 3 and Loop (long the go-to influences for stoney lo-fi basement bands) or a relentless Stooges-style chug, Apache Dropout drove the wayback machine even further into the past, choosing to emphasize the shuffling, swinging rhythms of old weird rock'n'roll.
So, about this titular bubblegum graveyard: is it a purplish and pinking site of pop-cult exhumations? A teenage wasteoid haunt, all sugary soil and gee-whiz headstones in bold Archie Comics fonts? A font of low-attention-span spellcraft for the post-Buffy generation? Well, it’s more of a late summer layover magazine read, really — not quite elevating its pulpy pretext beyond a fundamental disposability. And it’s way less creepy than, say, your local wax museum (although the fun does outlast a dimestore candy haul). As a sophomore straightahead, Bubblegum Graveyard is 30 minutes of a three-piece Nuggets revival troop putting its live identity first.