Release Date: Sep 30, 2014
Record label: Marshall Teller
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
The History of Apple Pie's debut album, Out of View, was an impressive bolt of shoegaze energy, memorable songcraft, and production savvy that staked a claim for the band in the rush and tumble of groups revisiting that very specific style. Following up impressive first albums is always a tricky proposition, one that not a few of the original shoegazers found hard to manage. On their 2014 record, Feel Something, the History of Apple Pie do a fine job of delivering a second album that has much of the same sterling properties as their debut, while giving their guitar noise with sugar-sweet melodies some tweaks here and there, just enough to serve as a progression instead of an unwanted stylistic leap into mediocrity.
Crap name for a band maybe, but as The History Of Apple Pie themselves state, if that’s the biggest thing for critics to worry about then that’s good news. And by all accounts it is the biggest complaint. By far. The London five-piece eventually released their debut Out Of View in January 2013 after a few years honing their skills and it proved to be a good move, the particularly solid, melodic ‘90s shoegaze influenced sound garnering praise from many quarters.
In this day in age when a band follows up a debut I’ve enjoyed barely 18 months later I’m always just a little bit on edge. I mean, with the traditional heavy touring that tends to accompany a first album, where do they find the time to write, fine-tune and record ten (good) new songs? Surely it’ll just end up being a bunch of songs that weren’t considered good enough first time round hurriedly shoved on tape before hitting the road again? Perhaps they’ll take a clutch of half-baked song snippets from the practice room and flesh them out into half an hour of new music in the same vein as the first record and hope nobody really notices there’s no new ideas? Or maybe the band in question will be able to stretch the realms of probability and use the short time period to somehow create something genuinely exhilarating which builds on the foundations of their debut LP. That last one doesn’t happen too often in a bloodthirsty industry where ‘content’ (ugh) is king though, does it? Well, I guess the magical thing about being a music lover is that the bands we love will always retain the power to surprise even jaded, cynical fuckers like me.
On their 2013 debut, Out of View, the History of Apple Pie channelled '90s heroes like Blur and Lush into an effervescent slice of throwback guitar rock. Their sophomore follow-up, Feel Something, finds the London quintet trying to move past their influences as they morph into an identity all their own. Previously a guitar-driven concern, here the band's rhythm section — drummer James Thomas and new bass player Joanna Curwood (original bassist Kelly Owens left the group last year) — and the addition of keyboards to the mix shift that focus, stealing some of the spotlight while adding rhythmic flair to tracks like "Keep Wondering" and "Tame.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. A big bundle of sugary, arch indie pop, The History of Apple Pie's second long player throws the listener back to the mid-nineties, to Britpop and the simple joy of primary coloured trainers and moppish hair. Unfortunately, it carries a familiar absence of anything deeper and more meaningful than a foamy pint.
The conversation surrounding London five-piece the History of Apple Pie’s 2013 debut album Out Of View focused on the young group’s rigid devotion to the sound of ‘90s indie rock. This wasn’t a case of laziness, however—they really did sound like a group celebrating the fuzzed-out golden age of college radio. Guitarist Jerome Watson told DeadJournalist.com that they “never intentionally copied or referenced anything, it’s just come from whatever we’ve been listening to and what moods we’re in while we’re demoing,” but in other interviews, he and his bandmates referenced My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and Pixies as influences—perhaps not coincidentally, the type of acts they often get compared to.
With a full-length record already behind The History Of Apple Pie, questions are once again those typical of a second effort: is it better than the first? Is there some sort of progression, or is it more of the same? With ‘Out of View’ placing itself nicely at Number Two in the UK Record Store Chart, The History of Apple Pie have slightly weightier expectations than most other bands in their scene. Getting guitarist Jerome Watson back in on production and engineering duties could be seen as a safe move in a genre that needs excitement, but there’s definitely something here that sets the five-piece out from the rest. In the end though, there’s just not enough of it.
The polite female vocals, the wispy shoegazing guitars, the sudden transition from oceanic sonics to more pop-based songwriting: it seems like The History of Apple Pie is posturing to be the next Lush. They're doing pretty well at achieving that, even if they remain too inexperienced to consider Feel Something as their version of Lovelife after they gave up on creating the next Loveless. .
London indie pop outfit The History of Apple Pie set out to follow last year’s Out of View with a bolder, more focused record when they pulled producer Jerome Watson onboard again. It’s clear they’re eager to ruminate on Loveless and 13, but elementary school crushes on My Bloody Valentine and Blur don’t give them the foresight to create their own version. Feel Something isn’t a change in direction.
It seems most indie guitar bands right now—from the trashy garage-pop set to the ’90s Brit-indebted bowlcut contigent—are in thrawl to the brain bubblegum-stretching possibilities of drowsy, angelic harmonies and guitars through numerous spacey effects pedals. Alvvays, Talk In Tongues, Joanna Gruesome, Beach Day, and sometimes even beer-spitting pal-rockers like Twin Peaks and Tweens have been high on that swirly shoegaze sound. The History Of Apple Pie jumped headfirst into it all with their 2013 debut album, Out Of View.