I didn’t know that girl was loaded

If brevity is the soul of wit, then Apollo Ghosts are the funniest people in the world. On their debut album, Hastings Sunrise, they blow through 14 songs in just 27 minutes, meaning that each track averages at around two minutes long. It’s a pace that would make Robert Pollard proud (or, at least, would have made him proud 15 years ago), especially since the album shares the lo-fi aesthetic of classic Guided by Voices—producers David Carswell and John Collins (Tegan and Sara, the New Pornographers) recorded the band live off the floor without the assistance of a click.

With bite-sized track-lengths and lo-fi production, the songs on Hastings Sunrise have a tendency to sound tossed off. But thanks to the band’s sharp pop hooks and often-hilarious lyrics, songs that might be throwaways for a lesser band become the highlights. The opening track, “Dobermans,” is a tongue-in-cheek ballad about a troupe of Chinese acrobats; with a pump organ set to sound like an accordion, the song’s gorgeous melody evokes Brian Wilson, making an otherwise goofy story sound almost heartbreaking. Similarly, on “Angel Acres,” singer Adrian Teacher’s fragile vocals give the hilarious lyrics an unexpected poignancy (“And in my defense, I didn’t know that gun was loaded / And in my defense, I didn’t know that girl was loaded”).

On Hastings Sunrise, Apollo Ghosts tackle a wide range of genres, from Ramones-inspired punk (“Land of the Morning Calm”) to folk (“Hastings Sunrise”) and even lounge rock (“While You’re up There”). The overall result recalls the jangle of ’80s college rock and the ’90s slacker ethos of Pavement. Still, despite outdated influences and archaic production, Hastings Sunrise never sounds like a throwback record, since its eclectic mishmash of styles is distinctly 21st century.

The group has shot three videos, the best of which is for “Angel Acres,” and features the band squaring off against pro wrestlers from the BC-based federation ECCW.

Apollo Ghosts are selling vinyl copies of Hastings Sunrise for a measly five dollars, and the first pressing is almost entirely sold out. The album will soon be rereleased on coloured vinyl and CD by Catbird (in the US) and Geographing (in Canada). In the meantime, it can be streamed in full here.
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2 Trackbacks

  1. By Shonen Knife @ Biltmore Cabaret, 10/25/09 on October 26, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    [...] song about Bigfoot. But the band also dipped into its back catalogue with a series of cuts from Hastings Sunrise and the EP Forgotten Triangle. The highlight came during “Little Yokohama,” when [...]

  2. By Santa’s gotta make it to town on December 16, 2009 at 12:45 am

    [...] philosophy is simple: hit record and go. The group’s two previous releases—the full-length Hastings Sunrise and the EP Forgotten Triangle—both sound like they were laid down in a single take, and this [...]

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