Release Date: Jan 28, 2013
Record label: Marshall Teller
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
The History of Apple PieOut of View[Marshall Teller Records; 2013]By Rob Hakimian; February 22, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetThe History of Apple Pie’s obsession with the sweetness of life is evident from their name to their album cover and it's consistent throughout their music. Each of the ten songs on their debut album Out of View is a rocket; vibrant and unrelentingly shooting forward in blasts of impassioned guitars without even giving a single thought to stop and try something fancy, until they reach their fiery conclusions. Out of View beholds the energy of a quintet of young men and women dreaming big about their futures.
For a band whose members were in their nappies (if even born) when the first wave of shoegaze broke, the U.K.'s History of Apple Pie do a really good job on their debut album, Out of View, re-creating the overdriven guitars, overloaded-everything sound with a sweet and sticky center that bands like Ride did so well back around 1990 or so. Add in some Dinosaur Jr.-style guitar heroics and Lush-inspired vocals and there's a danger of '90s overload. Unlike bands that hijack the sounds of shoegaze but add precious little to it, the band makes sure to have a bunch of instantly memorable, completely hooky songs ready and, to make matters better, play them like their guitars were on fire.
It seems to have taken an eternity for The History Of Apple Pie to release their first full length album. It is easy to forget the fashion they abruptly appeared and were quickly labelled “ones-to-watch”, all before East London peers Toy even existed. At the beginning of 2012 they were hotly tipped for big success, but instead of rushing a full length release they honed in on their craft.
We often remember music from decades past in an idealized light. In rock circles, the '90s are reduced to an indie dreamscape of underground noise and Britpop swagger. But the History of Apple Pie remember the real '90s, a land of alt-rock pretenders copping edgier sounds and turning them into modern rock radio gold. This London, UK five-piece's excellent debut features shimmering alt-rock hooks, à la Letters to Cleo and Belly, latter day Heavenly and especially Lush.
Like close contemporaries Yuck, east London’s The History Of Apple Pie hark back to a time when grunge was primed to explode and ‘wet-look’ was seen as a good thing for both hair gel and leggings. They couldn’t be more early ’90s if they came with Global Hypercolour sweat patches. Of course, in the two years since Yuck’s self-titled debut surfaced, the 20th century’s final decade has become the hottest thing in hipsterdom, with London trendies swapping boat shoes for creepers and skinny jeans for, well, wet-look leggings.
A name like ‘The History of Apple Pie’ is going to result in assumptions about what the band’s music sounds like. Throw in a promo shot of the band with one member lavishly licking an oversized lollipop, while two others share an apple, and those presumptions quite likely become more ratified. Words like ‘twee’ and ‘bubblegum’ flash into the mind.
When British indie rock revivalists Yuck released their self-titled debut in 2011, the record's aesthetic was frequently described (and dismissed) as nostalgic, even though the band's members were born around the same time their grungey source material was berthed. It's not surprising that they're friendly with the History of Apple Pie, a relentlessly perky London five-piece whose similar predilection for American indie oldies has also been painted as a nostalgia thing, though the blatant nature of their influences means the description suits them much better. Out of View, their debut full-length, follows a series of well received singles, and appropriates the signature fuzzed-out rock sound of indie rock's golden years in much the same way as bands such as Best Coast and Real Estate recontextualized 60s guitar pop: as a vehicle for yearning for what they perceive to be simpler times.
It's almost time to call a moratorium on 1990s revival indie rock bands. The sub-genre - yes, the sound is so prevalent it can't be shrugged off as a passing fad - is overflowing: wah-wah-pedal-loving Yuck, fuzzy indie poppers the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and a plethora of other jangly four-pieces that cite Stephen Malkmus as a hero. Kicking off 2013 are the History of Apple Pie, Londoners whose debut album adds surprising freshness to the game.
You could be forgiven for steering away from the debut album from the History of Apple Pie simply because of the band’s name, which sounds so unbearably precious that it may shatter if a moderately strong breeze came by. Even if Out of View turned out to be the next Loveless, that image is a hard one to let go of. Unfortunately for them, Out of View isn’t the next Loveless, even if it sounds like the latest in many attempts to recreate Kevin Shields’s masterwork.
Years from now, if they’re given that longevity, any fan of The History of Apple Pie likely won’t call them that. It’ll either be Apple Pie, or History Pie, or, well actually, maybe they’ll be ambitious enough to call them The History of Apple Pie. (Personally, I think it’s rather a mouthful of a band name, no pun intended.) Either way, it’s not really fitting for a sound that feels layered with globs of My Bloody Valentine, Lush, The Breeders, or Cocteau Twins.
Despite having one of the most ridiculous band names this side of Chumbawumba, The History Of Apple Pie became one of the most-hyped buzzbands of 2012, with their astoundingly poppy style of noisy shoegaze and post-rock. There’s an ethereal nature to their sound, recalling the sugary charm of Deerhoof, but there’s a grounded levity too, a seriousness that delivers a blunt edge to the ballooning pop hooks and chirrups of fuzz that hits home with a thwack. Their debut record, Out Of View, opens up with disjointed dial-up Internet scrapes in the fan-familiar ‘Tug’, before flourishing into a bouquet of expansive walls of Kitchens Of Distinction noise and sublime, chilled vocals from singer Stephanie Min.