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The Apples in Stereo – Travellers in Space and Time

on April 28, 2010, 8:00am

If an apple a day is supposed to be good for your health, then The Apples in Stereo should be good for your ears. The Apples’ latest release, Travellers in Space and Time, is at least good for your brain, as it provides something of an experiment in sound forms. Shortie first track “The Code” gives a preview of the album via a 1950s science lesson-flavored voice-over: “Since rhythm, expressed sonically, is one of the three basic components of music, there are those who will argue that a musician can learn the code much more quickly and with less effort–” This bleeds directly into the piano intro to song one, “Dream About the Future”, and we’re off.

“Dream About the Future” is one of the most charming songs on the album, with a lovelorn call-and-response line laid overtop of electronic-flavored piano and synth effects. The result is an outer-space love ballad of epic proportions that begs to be put on repeat. Track two’s “Hey Elevator” is similarly entrancing, with Robert Schneider’s expressive vocals pitching high over another well-orchestrated nest of electronica and keys. Schneider sounds like a less-emo, more pop-friendly Chris Conley, which avid readers will know has this reviewer on board with his sound immediately.

“Strange Solar System” marks another robotic voice-over, and following single “Dance Floor” is fun and light. Unfortunately, after that point, the album’s sound starts to lose its uniqueness. The next track, “C.P.U.”, is the first of a string of songs that don’t have anything wrong with them. Ultimately, though, they don’t have a lot of features that make them stand out, either. Look away from your iPod, and you’ll quickly lose track of the song titles. They’re still any number of positive adjectives: fun, light-hearted, danceable, electro-tinged, robotic (in a good way). But there’s just not a lot of variety after that.

Avid fans of dance and electronica may find these tracks quite enjoyable, but for the casual listener, repetition quickly becomes monotony. I found myself wanting to hit the skip button after hearing the chorus for the second or third time on several later tracks, particularly “No One in the World”. “Dignified Dignitary” is a late-track exception; it’s enjoyable, but still somewhat indistinct. It sounds in style and rhythm like a lot of singles from summers gone by, but the Apples’ best moments on this album are when they clear their own path.

All in all, Travellers in Space and Time is a fine album. It’s easy to listen to, fun, and summery, but seems unlikely to make much of a dent in the long-term music scene. Longtime fans and casual listeners will enjoy it, but it doesn’t do a lot in terms of originality to win over newcomers. If you’re obsessed with robots, rhythm games, and synth beats, though, come on over.

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