The Apples in stereo mark their first release in five years, as well as their fifth official full length album, with New Magnetic Wonder. The first release on Yep Roc Records' joint venture with Elijah Woods' newly formed record label, Simian Records, New Magnetic Wonder was produced by Bryce Goggin (Pavement, Sebadoh, Sean Lennon) and is surely the most elaborate Apples production to date. Clocking in at 53 minutes, the album contains 14 songs, 12 additional "link tracks," and an Apples first -- the newly invented "Non-Pythagorian Music Scale" included in both digital sound files and an in-depth video description on the enhanced portion of this multimedia CD. New Magnetic Wonder includes such fist pumping anthems as "Can You Feel It," the 70's AM radio-esque "Same Old Drag," and the Mellotron majesty of "Energy." It's The Apples in stereo doing what they do best -- it's a New Magnetic Wonder.
After a five-year absence, Apples in Stereo have returned with a sprawling and lush masterpiece. Their founding principle of the DIY approach to recording has remained in place, but the nearly 15 years of technological progress has made such ways of working yield significantly more robust sounds. Robert Schneider's songs have always harked back to the pop artistry of Brian Wilson and Jeff Lynne, as well as such near contemporaries as Pavement. New Magnetic Wonder
offers a more lush sweep of sound. It's varied, dazzling, and full of surprises. There's the keyboard-based pop of "Same Old Drag," the hypnotic muscle of "Sunndal Song" (sung by drummer Hilarie Sidney, who's recently departed to work with her own band), and the sprawling, four-part "Beautiful Machine." Depending on who's listening and what song they're hearing, there are many different ways to describe this band. Ultimately, they gently demand that you take them on their own terms, rewarding handsomely all those who make the glorious plunge. --David Greenberger