Release Date: Feb 6, 2007
Record label: Yep Roc / Simian
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
New Magnetic Wonder, the Apples in Stereo's return after a five-year hiatus, is one of their best records in a career made up of consistently fine recordings. Anyone expecting a return to the experimental, lo-fi wizardry of their early albums may feel let down by New Magnetic Wonder, but on the other hand, anyone fearing a return to the bland stripped-down and noisy sound of Velocity of Sound need not worry. What they have delivered instead is a crisply recorded set of bouncing rockers, sweetly strummed ballads, and vaguely trippy mid-tempo tracks that are full of hooks, melodies, and goofy fun.
With apologies to Spoon's Britt Daniel, Apples in Stereo frontman Robert Schneider might have opted for the title My Mathematical Mind instead of New Magnetic Wonder in geeking out and creating his own "Non-Pythagorean" music scale to recording the band's first album in five years. See, the higher the notes get, the closer they get in pitch. Neat, huh? No, you'd hardly notice if it weren't pointed out.
The Apples in Stereo have always faced a balancing act, with overt tweeness on the one hand, and intriguing Smile worship on the other. No doubt many would say that they fell on the wrong side more often than not, but their albums have always contained enough memorable, sunny-day melodies to offset their occasional cutesy crimes. On New Magnetic Wonder, bandleader Robert Schneider leads the foursome into an intersection of summery pop, alt-rock, vaguely psych-ified ELO-inspired effects, and odd sound collages.