Appollonia ‘Dull Parade’

Formed in 2005, Appollonia have been steadily producing albums ever since.  The new release is scheduled for 2016.

On a Bed of Sulfur – Nice groovy riff and drum intro.  Liking the progression of the riffs.  Good vocal harmonising.  This has got a good beat, reminding me of some of the better-known grunge bands, combined.  Some audible stoner influences in there too.  My only criticism would be that it ends too rapidly, depriving us of more of that gravelly rhythmic sound, of which more could have been made.  Wanting to hear more by the end of the opener, though, is good news, as we know.

Strange Blooms – Yes!  Good, banging drum intro; well supported by a similar riff sound.  Unusual, very confident, accomplished vocal tone and style; difficult to describe, but again, reminds me of a similar sound, which eludes me, at present, but there’s a definite haunting quality.  Plenty of very nice, competent drum rolls.  Generally, the title fits it well.  One of those better heard than read about, to capture its’ true feel.

Lights Out – Knives – Out – A darker opening riff, aurally depicting the title well.  More light-hearted vocals in places, interweaving between light and shade.  Lots of high-pitched riffs and darker vocal harmonies.  The closing drum beats work well, emphasising the deep, sinister nature of the song.

Ammunitions Please – Much faster, furious drum and riff intro – ratcheting up the excitement factor.  This one’s got a good, rapid rhythm.  Again, the physicality of the instrumentals suits the song title well.  The vocals are actually fairly gentle, considering its themes.  Nice echoey fade out.

Everest – More melodic intro here, which is quite likeable.  Smooth and steady – moving easily into more of the same; an enjoyable listen, with a decent pitch.  Very grungy in flavour, with a slight stonerish vibe again.  Imagine a marginally heavier Pearl Jam.  Definitely very cohesive.  Insistent feel, with a slower pace.

Elizaberri – Similar sound to the preceding track.  An old-fashioned feel, in parts, reminiscent of travelling back in time.  Alternating tone, pace, pitch and form.  There’s a clear sense of experimentation throughout the album; especially on this track.  Liking the high-pitched riffs, which come into their own, creating a fresh, escapist sound just before the end.  Interesting.

To Study Lips – Greater emphasis on the vocals upon the intro here – quickly seguing from gentler solos to loud, powerful harmonies.  A different tack to the formats used in previous tracks.  Some sense of melancholia about this track.  Slowing down briefly, after the midsection, creating an atmosphere of calm and contemplation, before reverting back to the quicker pace, deepening the bass sound at the close.  Impressive use of various sounds and arrangements.

Anelace – A buzzy type of guitar intro here, with some lovely gentle strumming.  These vocals and lyrics are incredibly morose and more melancholic than before.  You definitely feel the intent and emotions behind them.  Just a very dark, sombre song, with much more lyrical and vocal emphasis.  Fairly short, but captures the mood well.

Welsh Rarebit – Hmm, a food title!  Most intriguing.  Opening with an even more downbeat sound, continuing with some very sad lyrics!  A more light-hearted chorus, returning to the serious verses.  Some nice smooth guitar tones here and there, holding that melting chocolate quality.  Generally, though, it’s a tad funereal.

Overall, it definitely gets marks for originality, versatility and creativity.  If you like the experimental vibe, with a multitude of styles and influences, then this is one for you.  This band/album knows all about capturing a mood.  However, it could do with livening up, in the listenability stakes.  Profound, contemplative and well constructed; but needs a strong injection of energy and life, as far as my own tastes are concerned.  More for the downbeat, downtrodden, defeated by life brigade. Starts off well, with more life initially, but ultimately, lives up to its title, especially in the last few tracks. Depressing, but certainly inventive.

7/10 *******

For fans of Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, The Smashing Pumpkins, Alice In Chains. – Video for ‘Strange Blooms’




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