Shall Noise Upon
By Eavvon O'Neal
Indie rock is a totally crazed demon whore, especially when one gets past how sweet or rad the “jams” are. It’s madcap, and in all the years I’ve been rocking my limited edition vinyl, leaked EPs and special mono recordings while trying to justify my opinion of various records, I’ve never really considered just how hard it is to break into the mainstream, especially with a good product and not just marginalized tripe.
Think of every element you have ever loved in a song and artists’ attempts to consistently construct a recognizable “sound.” And God forbid you actually put out a good album, because then the insurmountable becomes even harder. It’s a bitch to get past, but if you manage to wade through all this, the rewards are almost as “rad” as the music.
Apollo Sunshine rocked their eponymous release with the fury of other Boston greats. With it being their second album, they clearly have something to prove, which is accomplished here in respectable fashion. Still, in the eyes of those who are not diehard fans, the release of Shall Noise Upon is basically a do-over on, which is like re-living high school, to ensure it really was as awkward as you remembered it.
“Breeze” starts things off with a subtly that underlines the album. No crazy key changes or meritorious dawns, just cool melodies. To the contrary, “666: The Coming of The New World Government” has the psychedelic Beatles energy that is so in right now. Interestingly, around the 2:17 mark, there is a pounding low end drum that takes over, creating a really bizarre moment of extra pulse that pushes the song to the next level of writing for this group. “Shall Noise Upon” has an even more unique appeal as it introduces high whines and piercing pricks of electricity, but then dumps into a rather uninspired segue for “Brotherhood Of Death.”
Shall Noise Upon’s best moments come from the knots and transitions created from each song; it’s great seeing the band connect the groove from their last album with the experimentalism of this current project. “Happiness” is pinned as a moment of reflection as the album moves forward, as it dives into the album’s second half, a Simon & Garfunkle-like parade of tight harmonies and acoustic backing that produces a “Mrs. Robinson”-revisited feel dipped in contemporary production glitter.
“Light Of The World” is one of the coolest components of the album, finishing off the record nicely, but it creates a thirst for more inventive songs in this back half. If it’s not playing it safe, then maybe it’s just outright comfort. With either being the case, it’s a wink at more expansive songs in the future, causing this album to serve as a bridge to the future rather than recreating what made them so likeable in the first place. Making epic music will drive you crazy, but epic music makes us all crazier. Too bad it’s hard to live in both worlds.