Who would have thought that in 2016 we'd be seeing a new Silver Apples album and that it would be produced by Graham Sutton (Bark Psychosis etc). But this is the information we have been presented with so we must go with that. Silver Apples surviving member Simeon Coxe (now 97) has recorded all this at his place in Alabama and it has been scrubbed by Sutton in London. I'm not sure what we can expect at this late stage. Their two '60s albums were truly groundbreaking and seem to sound more modern the more today's hip young things are influenced by them.
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There are some things that should just not happen - a new Dodgy album for instance. And there’s some things that it’s nice to happen but a part of you wishes hadn’t. Half way through listening to this new album from ancient creaking synth pioneers Silver Apples I suddenly started to feel very depressed indeed. Now, find me another 80 year old person who is making music like this and I’ll give you a jelly.. however it’s really just an interesting but benign postscript to the two classic albums they made at the end of the ’60s.
The main issue which makes the album sound frail is the lack of real drums. The best thing about the original ‘Apples was the juxtaposition between Simian Coxe’s quaint folky synth melodies and the shit hot proto Jaki Liebezeit drumming of Dan Taylor. Obviously we know that Taylor passed away in 2005 but could it have been really too much to ask to get a guest drummer to beef up a few tracks? Despite that there are obvious highlights including the excellent opener ‘The Edge of Wonder’ which showcases all the off kilter futuristic oddness of this legendary band in three wonderful minutes. ‘Fractal Flow’ also sounds just as life changing as it did when first released in 1996 and started my personal look back at what they did in the ‘60s. It’s a killer track which stands head and shoulders above everything else here, sadly it is 20 years old.
Never mind, there’s still some really interesting tracks such as ‘Susie’ which has a stalker-ish air and sounds like Suicide have discovered hip hop. And the penultimate ‘The Rain’ is another life affirming slab of eerie dislocated pop with a typically sing song vocal melody. Elsewhere there are plenty of sci-fi sound effects and eerie vintage synth sounds to keep lovers of old school electronics happy. What results is a quaint postscript to their career which is heartwarming in it's charm but doesn’t get close to the achievements of the past. Still, if it helps more people discover this innovative forward thinking band then that can only be a good thing.
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