A lot of people in life are not free-spirited enough to live by the expression: “If it feels good, do it!” But not Apollo Sunshine. The aesthetic that these Boston boys put forth on their second full-length can be warm and vivifying all at once. The album is so passionately uninhibited and freewheeling, and the band cares so much about their music that they turned down a deal from MCA only to head to Spin Art in order to hold on to their masters, most likely retaining more artistic freedom than the majors would have let them have.
The songs on Apollo Sunshine’s latest display wonderfully just how carefree and lively the band can be. “Flip” is a nugget of whimsical power pop that twinkles effervescently midway through, while “Ghost” is held together by Jesse Gallagher’s loungy organ licks. The 30-second folk interlude “A Finger Pointing Into the Moon” segues into the jangle boogie bliss in “Phoeney Maroney”. And “Today is the Day” rides on a nominal Carl Perkins-esque malt shop trot. Bassist Sean Aylward ebbs into his own unique groove on “The Hotter, The Wetter, The Better” and the track goes through many mood swings, but the best of the song’s many phases is during Sam Cohen’s psychedelic guitar freak-out, which is similar to an LSD trip-out montage in a 1970s anti-drug filmstrip.
In “Magnolia,” Apollo Sunshine shows their knack for throwing down a heady mixture of alt-country twang and an old-timey stomp. On the album highlight “Phyliss,” Gallagher goes into some witty existential pondering amidst chunky treble. Apollo Sunshine even take the funky sway in “Lord” and merge it swagger into a Sonic Youth like spazz-out.
Some musicians these days just tend to take themselves and their work too seriously. The approach that Apollo Sunshine puts forth in their music is similar to the one that a Little League coach conveys to the players, which is not to focus on winning or losing but to go out there and have fun. And having fun is what this New England four piece does. Apollo Sunshine is a crystal clear example as to why the hype-radars of mainstream music media are simply null and void. One must look beyond them to find choice tunes such the ones on this exceptional album.