steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Bad Apples

"The Autumn People" CD


Genre: lazy autumn afternooning


March 2010

On opener "Love," things go just right for Estonia's Bad Apples. Swell Belle & Sebastian warmth, Sarah Records quaintness, and a tinge of shoegaze reverb align sweetly in a radiant gust of slack pop, making for a mellow stroll of autumn melody. Unfortunately, it turns out to be an early highlight of an inconsistent -- albeit hardly dreadful -- sophomore album.

To be clear about it, The Autumn People is frequently a rewarding listen, but it is ultimately quite hit-or-miss. The challenge inherent in this record, which pilfers sixties-era pop elements and weds them to understated twee traditions, is its overly lackadaisical approach to songwriting. Sure, The Autumn People boasts a charmingly casual feel, but this laissez-faire mode of thinking too often imperils the songs' melodies and structures. While on lush, Moog-laced "Charming Boy" and bossa nova adorned "Play Time," the band mines delightful territory not far off from that explored by Camera Obscura, they don't fare nearly as well on lifeless closer "Hey Doctor" and weak "At the Expedition," the latter of which is wonderfully atmospheric but utterly flat aside from a spacey chorus.

Bad Apples boast a lot of promise on this ten track record, but they also stumble over their feet from time to time -- nothing new for a young band, of course. As spring approaches, The Autumn People isn't necessarily the first album that comes to mind; nevertheless, several of these songs will no doubt be left bouncing around in my head as the bright snow turns to grey Montreal sludge.

bad apples' myspace

Michael Tau

[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2009]