My Bloody Valentine, The Joy Formidable, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, A Place to Bury Strangers; just some of the reasons why this genre is on a very thin line between success and failure. And now with The History of Apple Pie added to the bunch of 'noise pop / nu-gaze' hybrids in alternative rock, it won't be long until a ground-breaking album in this field of music surfaces. Listing these band names actually makes me chuckle, any 13 - 14 year old black haired American with My Chemical Romance posters on their wall will see this list and think it's a beginners guide to emo.
Don't take offence, when I was, a young boy, my Father, played me some Lou Reed... Yeah, so My Bloody Valentine pretty much have a huge influence on today’s loud and guitar based bands that we would consider as nu-gaze. You have to turn the clock back even further to the times of Sonic Youth and The Jesus & Mary Chain to get the full picture of where all the knock-offs and attempts of re-creating such grandness like Loveless came from. It may be of worth to say The History of Apple Pie sound nothing like My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive or even The Cocteau Twins. They fit in to the bracket with The Joy Formidable. There's something about these noise pop / nu-gaze bands that are driven to achieve their own sound in such a secluded manner. It's as if the predeceasing genres and influences have had no impact in the recording process. The sound is cut deeper in to the skin, the effects are lighter, but louder. Unfortunately, my initial and current opinion regarding The History of Apple Pie is somewhat jaded.
Throughout their debut album Out of View, The History of Apple Pie show signs of weakness in structures. "Do It Wrong" is a good example of a forgettable, back album track with all the mod cons that come with this sort of music, but lacking the passion and innovative features their London associates Novella poses. The album starts off with "Tug", leading listeners to turn up the volume because we're craving distortion on guitars. It's one of the stronger tracks on Out of View and with this The History of Apple Pie start off in the correct manner. They showcase their vigorous sounds in five minutes of build-ups and guitar solos which instead of the Lush comparisons, brings to like the work of British Sea Power and Interpol. Theirs undeniably a post-punk influence on shoegaze as a whole, but it's more presentable and seeping through the cracks with The History of Apple Pie.
"See You" offers further melodies and excitement with the searing guitars and standout bass. There's no denying that this track will be the single, its single material and it's potentially the best track on the album, but faces stiff competition from a few other gems, however those gems as I so kindly put it, have already been released. The following track "Mallory" was released in 2011 and the sixth track "You're So Cool" was also released in 2011. That's a two year gap from releasing these early singles to releasing their debut album. Four out of the 10 tracks on Out of View have been released as singles or featured on compilations. Now to me, I find it quite astonishing that The History of Apple Pie wouldn’t release new material on their debut album instead of placing already existing track in the public domain on an album where essentially the already existing tracks are the best. It ultimately flaws the album and brings my opinion of The History of Apple Pie down. I've seen many times before, most noticeably with borderline mainstream rock acts such as Kasabian, where they included two tracks that featured on an EP two years prior to third album West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. It's unprofessional, it's lazy and it gets under my skin.
The London five piece show a darker side with the fuzz heavy seventh track "I Want More". It's a track that hasn't already been released as a single, and it's a genuine top quality track among a bunch of nonsense similarities. For example, take a listen to "Glitch". It starts off strong with a nice bass accompany to some stark percussion and rhythm guitar. The lead guitar comes in and ruins the mood, and then the harsh vocals enter with reverb and delay effects which add to the tracks lack of production quality. I'm not talking lo-fi; I’m talking a bad mix of instruments which focusses too much on the harsh and loud sounding vocals and hi-hat rather than the guitars. Even with 2011 single "Do It Wrong'", The History of Apple Pie manage to show signs of positivity. The harmonies actually work on this track, it's just a shame I’ve heard it before and already have it in my music collection. I do genuinely see this as a negative, four out of 10 tracks is a huge chunk of the album. That leaves six tracks that The History of Apple Pie are giving to their fans.
"Long Way To Go" is a fine track with brilliant acoustic guitar production and progressions. The quietened down electric guitar is a nice effect and actually works on this track. It takes the noise out of the equation and leaves The History of Apple Pie with what they are, an indie pop band with distortion. I just wish they would take a page out of Fear of Men's book and release their older work as a compilation, rather than include it on their debut album.