Robert Schneider, one of my favourite neopsychedelic musicians, has a new album out, this time with his main band again, The Apples in Stereo. His previous album Expo was issued in 2005 with The Marbles and is an excellent synth-driven yet lo-fi effort. Before that he did two non-psych albums in 2005 (with Ulysses) and 2002 (with the Apples) which didn’t do much for me, so the last time the Apples released anything good was in 2000 with the radiant Discovery of a World Inside the Moone.
The new disc, New Magnetic Wonder, consists of no less than 24 songs recorded from late 2005 to late 2006, and it’s got a number of core people from my old favourites The Olivia Tremor Control on the crew list. For instance, the great Bill Doss is now a permanent member of the Apples, which is almost too good to be true! He’s co-written the infectious opening track, “Can You Feel It?”, and his distinctive voice is heard clearly in the harmony singing.
The music is lush and intricately overdubbed studio pop with influences from the past four decades’ guitar bands. The Marbles’ clunky drum machine and vintage synthesisers are also still clearly in evidence, as are the recent lessons Schneider’s learned from Jeff Lynne’s and Brian Eno’s late 1970s releases. And this being Schneider, processed singing and guitars are of course everywhere.
I’ve followed this guy’s work for ten years now, and I’m very happy with the new album! It’s catchy, it’s melodic, it’s a bit psychedelic: music to make you smile and tap your feet. Judging from the media response, this record will probably prove to be Robert Schneider’s big break.
Update 4 June: Perusing the liner notes, I find a few cool tidbits.
Will Cullen Hart is also on the record, credited for “drums, backing vocals, electronic effects, handclaps, backwards poetry, plastic whistle”, as well as Jeff Mangum and John Fernandes. It’s an Olivia Tremor Control reunion!
The album is dedicated to Syd Barrett’s memory!
Loads of other good bands and musicians are thanked, including Darian Sahanaja of the Wondermints.