Under Review

Under Review: About the Future, apples

Todd McCluskie

It’s 4:25 AM in the midst of a dead quiet night, my insomnia acts as a gateway to my initial exposure to apples’ debut album, About the Future. I gingerly drop the needle on the record (pressed on purple vinyl) and I advance. Starting with the opening, and in fact title, track from this late 2021 release: the morbidly melancholy “About the Future.” A thick, lush and layered musical landscape is my cursory impression of apples’ tasty offering. I am gently whisked away and consumed from the get go. The leadoff track catches me, and is many things, including but not limited to: blissful, electric and haunting. The first lines of the first song set the tone, and how could they not? “The worst is yet to come on the coldest night / A homeless drift across the earth / For the better part of a century has come and gone.” Lead vocalist Liz Read continues… “The horizon twists, it begins to spin/ You surrender everything to rust / And in the ashes, in the tawny dust / You would talk about the future for the first time.” WOW!

The group is British Columbia based, and this is their fourth release and first full length album (preceded by 2017 and 18’s Called Grace, A Note of Thanks and songs from maybe island). The band is tagged as rock, indie rock, pop rock, psych and shoegaze, and I question if our obsession with genre labelling has really run its course? 

It’s now about 4:30 AM as I glance at the tick-tock of the clock as the second song unwinds. “Wave/Crow,” a slightly wordy jaunt, masterful and dripping with prettiness and clarity. Track three, “Called Grace,” is a little less reflective, sprinkled with pop overtones as it elevates pace and tempo. Leading into “Hyacinths,” a song that begins with a dirty, deep, throaty guitar riff:  “Come a darkening horizon / Come steady rain / We’re losing daylight / But it’s so obvious I see yr lighthouse grin.” Lyrically there is clearly a darkness unfolding with a pinch of hope. 

The journey is near complete as I melt into the last three tracks on the album. Again glancing at the time, it’s now 4:45 AM, on the fringes of another Vancouver morning. “The Every River Song” seems soft and spiritual, the modern-bluesy “Rage On, Apolitical” stops, hops and starts, and we round it all up with the anthemic “Loose to the World.” The intro to this final effort (and for me strongest song) reminds one of the classic Doors epic “The End,” and then all comparisons cease. The song unfolds in an apple inspired, sort of juicy fashion, with a catchy blending of an echoey double-tracked vocal. A triumphant, glorious conclusion to an already strong record indeed. I now flirt with 5am. Time to fade into the rarity of sleep and dream About the Future and whoever and whatever it may hold.

“But 5am finds you outside my door, talkin non-stop/ We steal hyacinths from the gardens of my neighbors/ And we drown the clock” — Todd McCluskie