Rhythm & Views

The Apples in Stereo

The Apples in Stereo kick off their latest album, New Magnetic Wonder, with "Can You Feel It?," a blast of guitar candy so joyous, invigorating and danceable, you wonder why you haven't heard music this wonderfully pop-tastic in so long. Well, part of that answer resides in the Elephant 6 recording collective band's five-year disappearance from the indie scene, Wonder being their first major album since 2002's Velocity of Sound.

Well, don't worry about any huge genre shifts or sonic renovations that usually follow such a long hiatus from recording; the Apples are their reliably chipper, whimsical, '60s-obsessed selves, still reveling in a power-pop sound that balances the sunny, jangly purity of The Beach Boys, Phil Spector and The Zombies with noisier, quirkier and more contemporary acts like The Pixies, My Bloody Valentine and Pavement--along with the random Britpop band, a no-brainer given those bands and the Apples have many of the same influences.

This is top-down driving music from start to finish, a song cycle that goes all the way to 24 (which includes short, mostly instrumental interludes) but never seems overlong or monotonous. One noticeable change from previous Apples recordings is how crisp and clean many of these songs sound, the band having partnered their longtime analog approach with digital recording means. It brightens many of the melodic nuggets here, from the Oasis-like "Energy" to CCR-meets-Kinks "Play Tough."

Sometimes you depend on a band to sound a certain way, and you can always count on the Apples to deliver their brand of uplifting revisionism.

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