Release Date: Jul 15, 2011
Record label: Graveface Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock
The Appleseed Cast is not a band even dedicated indie music aficionados seem to think about frequently. The band so readily slips between the cracks of emo, indie and vocal post-rock, it’s almost tempting to label it shoegaze. It’s certainly not emo anymore, not even second-wave. And the quiet niche that is post-rock nerds don’t hype the band with unceasing praise that Unwed Sailor or Godspeed You! Black Emperor receive.
This stalwart Lawrence, Kansas band returns with 28 minutes of what it does best, namely swath the listener in a dreamlike haze. Fifteen years into its career, the Cast delivers one of its most vital tracks to date with “Middle States”, which highlights the chiming guitars of Chris Crisci and Aaron Pillar plus the acumen of the Nate Whitman (bass)/John Momberg (drums) rhythm section. The 14-minute closer “Three Rivers” is a long and winding piece that is as fascinating as the other two fully realized tracks here.
On Middle States, the Appleseed Cast capture the uncertainty of the Midwest with a collection of songs that are always changing, subtly shifting like the seasons into more atmospheric territories. Delivering four songs in a little under 30 minutes, the album finds the band continuing to move in a more post-rock oriented direction with sprawling, reverb-drenched songs that allow the listener to simply drift along with them as they wander through the wide-open spaces of the album's namesake. While four songs in a half-hour may seem a bit long, the Appleseed Cast showcase a knack for getting to the point without a lot of fuss.
The Appleseed Cast pride themselves on evolving with the times. Their gentle, often fluid indie rock sound has morphed slowly since the band’s inception in 1998, from the emo of their late ‘90s albums to the post-rock of their early aughts experiments. The group has remained something of a character actor in alternative music, however, partly because of their isolated Midwestern origins and partly because of an innately lackluster originality.