The History of Apple Pie

Out of View

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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. Every song on the album has thrilling dynamic shifts, melodic twists and turns, and a gooey near-psychedelic richness, making the final product the equal of any album released by any shoegaze-inspired band ever (My Bloody Valentine excepted). The album was produced by the band's guitarist Jerome Watson, and he and the band make sure to vary the guitar tones from song to song, bring in different kinds of percussion, and make each song sound a little different than the next but still part of a well-conceived whole. Songs could be yanked out of the track list and would be perfectly able to stand on their own -- the energetic lead single "See You" sounds made for a commercial where people throw paint at each other and generally act painfully carefree, "You're So Cool" is a gently chugging ballad with lovely vocal harmonies (Stephanie Min's lead vocals are a highlight, but when she sings with bassist Kelly Lee Owens it really takes off into the clouds), and "Do It Wrong" is a raging rocker. What really makes the record special is the way the songs fit together and the band creates a 30-minute oasis of sound that is very easy to disappear into and come out the other side feeling cleansed of your cares and woes. And maybe feeling a little bit like you traveled back to 1992 and brought back a big chunk of what made the music scene worthwhile back then. Out of View is an impressive debut but, more than that, it's the sound of shoegaze and early-'90s guitar pop at its best. Borrowed or not, you have to respect that.

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