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This review is from: Out Of View (MP3 Download)
Contrary to persistently ill-informed headlines, the nuclear guitar/bass/drums band set-up has been ticking along quite nicely of late, typically either mining seams of quality garage, leaning on punkier inflections or, as here, dabbling in pre-grunge indie and shoegaze. So, perhaps short on ideas but far from dead in the water, "guitar music" resolutely still lives on.
Bearing both of these things in mind, any review of the fuzzy, dreamy Out Of View could spend half its word count name-checking iconic bands from `87-'93, but little good it would ultimately do for, amongst other things, London quintet The History Of Apple Pie also have one jangling foot in the sugar-coated birth of Britpop. Bridging these two worlds they certainly have the potential to lead a popular UK-based revival of such sounds, but if their trailblazing Marshall Teller label-mates to date are anything to go by then they are more likely to simply languish in limited pools of critical acclaim - tributaries to the mainstream, if you will.
This is a bit of a pity because the Out Of View opener "Tug" sees the band at their commercial best. Full of ear-catching guitar tones, the track's cosy shoegaze is tempered on record by vocalist Stephanie Min`s sweet contributions, its modest noise levels almost certainly belying an all-encompassing live sound. Leaving the majority of the fuzz behind, the first single "You're So Cool" allows Min to shine via its more sparse construct. Another of the singles, "Mallory", is note perfect too as Min's voice drifts through polished indie-pop surges and more standout guitar interplay courtesy of Jerome Watson who is also credited as the album's producer.
Out Of View inevitably has a supporting cast of tracks too, which uniformly seem to hail from some dusty cassette dragged out from beneath the seat of the very second-hand Vauxhall Cavalier you've just inherited, invoking half-recalled memories of being front-row and awestruck by a guitarist with a pedal fetish for the first time. It's niche imagery for sure, but accurate to these ears.
Some of these period gems hit the spot - the mesmeric and surprisingly muscular "I Want More" - and others get waylaid by slacker stereotypes. For example, "Before You Reach The End" is really notable only for featuring searing guitar work from album engineer Joshua Third of The Horrors. For each mild misstep however you find a "See You", the big chiming chorus from which is an ideal soundtrack for love-struck teenagers today. Full of stolen glances and unsure dreams of heavy petting it no doubt mirrors the tentative beginnings of Min and Watson's own romantic involvement.
The History Of Apple Pie and Out Of View are a rarity. Cute and shoegaze-inspired indie are infrequent bedfellows for a reason, but it's a partnership that, in small doses, is really rather charming. Chalk this one down as yet more proof of the lingering appeal of guitars done well.
Advised downloads: "Tug" and "Mallory".