The indie-rock revival that has seen Yuck, Toy, Cheatahs, Speedy Ortiz etc all make records that are as indebted to the music of my youth as RBS are to the state. This appropriation of my past makes me both like and resent these youngsters in equal measure. Now this disease has crossed the channel and from the homeland of the mighty Les Thugs come Appletop.
They make it easy by singing in English and they make it easy on the ear by often sounding like Pavement with a less eccentric leader. They tend towards the more melodic end of the spectrum, the songs are college radio friendly - there are all sorts of bands circling around in my head when I listen to them. ‘Burning Land’ says Number One Cup to me, those bouncy pop riffs, cherries with a candy crisp centre. From the fuzz that begins ‘New Again’ and the off-hand flecks of guitar it is clear the Pavement are a huge influence, the eventual awkward petering out doing nothing to disavow this impression.
‘Nebraska’ has a similar sound to Home, a spiky homebrew hinting at something darker. And how’s this for a 1980’s title - ‘Madonna In Love’? To join the major leagues you need a change of pace; ‘Portland’ a forced marriage of Twin Peaks and Lou Barlow and ‘Nikolai’ strips back to the bare wire of electric guitar and gentle vocals. Appletop aren’t just about recreation even if I have made it seem so. This is a hugely enjoyable record for an indie-rock fan and there’s just enough of their own personality and ideas to make it worthwhile.
« Brave Mountains » from Appletop band is available since 2014, March 24th @ A Quick One Records.
Mastered by François Fanelli at Sonics Mastering studio