The Apples In Stereo - Travellers In Space And Time
The Seventh studio album by Elephant 6’s founder Robert Schneider and his Apples in Stereo frequently sounds like a band trying to do everything and succeeding inasmuch as it’s possible for a band to do everything. Which is to say it’s not possible. Travellers in Space and Time feels like a combination of Hall & Oates’ slick piano and bass grooves mixed with Gorillaz arsenal of studio toys and lack of focus. Neither of these accounts for the joyful, cornball feel of the proceedings, so throw in some early Madonna as well. And why not, Earth, Wind & Fire for the groovy funk breakdowns and handclaps.
If that sound like a big mess, you’ve basically got the right idea, The Apples have no idea what they’re trying to do. However, it sounds like they had a lot of fun while they were not knowing what they were doing, and really, that counts for a lot and goes a long way to making up for the myriad shortcomings of this record. The disco-pop of the early portion of the album is very infectious and while numbers like ”Dance Floor” are probably cutesy enough to alienate even people who would count The Little Mermaid as their favorite movie, there’s no denying how danceable it is.
There’s so much album here that its impossible to wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone, however, you recommend pieces of it to almost everyone. If you like Daft Punk and the Ting Tings, go ahead and check out the first third of the album. If you like ambling piano pop of Ben Folds and Matt Pond PA, there’s some stuff on here for you. Hell, if you miss they heyday of the 60’s navel-gazing psychadelia phase and find yourself spinning ? & the Mysterians more than all your friends, check out the song “C.P.U.”
This is no great record, and many ways its far less than the sum of its many, many parts. For fans of the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons, you may remember in the opening theme a several story tall machine with hundreds of little pieces and as the camera panned down, you saw this massive behemoth was a mere coffee maker. I can think of no more apt metaphor for Travellers in Space and Time, this is not a great or even good album, but you have to be impressed by how much they were trying to do and in the meantime, its pretty fun. And sometimes, it’s ok for music to just be fun even if it isn’t totally successful.
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