The History of Apple Pie: Out of View
Although The History of Apple Pie formed only a year and a half ago, the band has already gained some attention on the music blog scene for their spirited live shows and a few well-received singles. The attraction isn’t hard to fathom; THOAP (I’ll abbreviate because I don’t think I can bear to write that name more than once) indulge the internet’s fairly new embrace of ‘90s nostalgia that music in general has also embraced over the past few years, if only because it just recently became temporally possible. Much of THOAP’s music has that ‘90s indie rock slacker vibe, yet they keep from completely mimicking it due to their reliance on pop melodies. They’re essentially doing what Yuck did two years ago, though with slightly less commitment. This isn’t a bad thing. They manage to take the shoegaze stylings of legends like My Bloody Valentine and make it radio-ready, which may go down as the basic achievement of this album, as it balances both lo-fi and clean production without feeling too muddled.
That said, the songs on this album do at times feel a bit homogeneous. They deal heavily with teenage heartbreak and noisy, complex guitar. That’s the focus, and although well-executed, it can feel a bit constraining at times. “Mallory,” a song whose hooks and flurry of sound grab you, ends up feeling lost amid the bulk of songs that sound largely similar. This can be an issue for young bands who dwell on a certain style for the entirety of a record. Even if that style is nearly mastered ‒ and THOAP may have perfected their idea of “medicated teenage heartbreak” ‒ the lyrics may not hit quite hard enough and the guitar may not be enough to carry the record. “Glitch” is, again, nostalgic and full of some great guitar, but it seems to succeed in the same way “I Want More” and “Do It Wrong” do. While this is partly admirable, it’s also a bit dull after a while.
Despite some of the album’s flaws, this is a band primed for a breakout. Their sound is familiar and the interplay of grit and pop is fairly intriguing. More importantly, their singles are good. In the music industry of 2013, you’re only as good as your singles and THOAP has that dimension down pat, even if they fail to sustain that infectious sound for the entirety of the record (or try too hard to do so). Beyond their potential for popularity, this has the makings of a band whose second record will exceed their first in terms of quality. For now, the band is still getting their footing, and they don’t know how to explore this material in greater depth. All in all, this record is nothing more than a young band perfecting its sound. Although such records are rarely perfect, it still stands as a rite of passage that isn’t without its rewards.