(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CD review - Sweet Apple - Love and Desperation (2010)

There's a touching story for how this album came to be. It involves death, loss of purpose, and a safety net of friends. For all that, Love and Desperation (due out April 20 on Tee Pee Records) is not overly sentimental or cloying. J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), John Petkovic (Cobra Verde), Tim Parnin (Cobra Verde), and Dave Sweetapple (Witch) have created a good, hard, indie rock album.

Sweet Apple shows off their roots, too. While it doesn't create quite the wall of guitar sound of Dinosaur Jr, it does channel their hard grind and J. Mascis' busy drum fills. Cobra Verde (they used to back Robert Pollard in one incarnation of Guided By Voices) contributes the power pop vibe and significant guitar sounds. There's also a retro psychedelic feel from tremolo guitar tones, that's more unique to the lineup of Sweet Apple.

Interestingly enough, the catchiest tune on the disc sounds like a White Stripes outtake. Flying Up a Mountain has a march beat and a riff driven, hard rock groove.
I wasn't born, I was detached, it made my mother cry
I came out way too soon cause I couldn't stand it inside
It's a great song, although it's not as radio friendly as Do You Remember. This is their first single which has more of a driving power pop beat and a straight ahead grind. Do You Remember is reminiscent of Hold On Loosely (.38 Special), but it's still a strong song. It also sounds closest to Dinosaur Jr, especially listening to the drum fills.

On the other hand, It's All Over Now leans more towards Cobra Verde. Kicked off with a lush, flanged guitar riff, it comes across like an uptempo May This Be Love (Jimi Hendrix). It's pretty, but melancholy, with fine melodic bass work. If Flying Up a Mountain serves as an anthem, It's All Over Now is more introspective and resigned without asking for sympathy. It's an intriguing contrast, especially since it directly follows Flying.

There are plenty of other good tunes: the psychedelic Can't See You, the Doors-like Blindfold, the acid rock feel of Never Came. Whether you're a fan of any of the related bands, this is well worth a listen. Keep an eye out as well, because Sweet Apple will be touring soon

Pour a rich glass of Anchor Liberty Ale (or any other balanced, floral hop American pale ale) and let Love and Desperation wash over you.


  1. Surprised that you didn't mention the 'album' art's homage to Roxy Music's Country Life. Does their music have any of that Ferry/Manzanera vibe?

  2. You're right, I should have mentioned that. I pulled in the album art last thing before I posted, so I missed adding that.

    I didn't get a Roxy vibe to the music, though. But I still enjoyed it.