Unchained Music Blog

Unchained Music Blog

Monday, January 22, 2018

Blue Apollo - Light Footed Hours + Circles (2017)

Written by Mike Yoder, posted by blog admin

Utilizing multiple musical elements and components, Texan indie-rockers Blue Apollo create an alchemical stylistic experiment on their brief introduction statement the Light-Footed Hours EP.  While perhaps not reinventing the songwriting wheel altogether, this power trio has a firm grasp on light/shade dynamics, tuneful songwriting and textured composition with plenty of layers provided by the stellar production/mixing job as well as by the musicians in the band. 

“Walls” sets the EP aflame with a bone-crunching, rollicking drum beat played with plenty of thump by drummer Jeremiah Jensen.  Asphyxiating yet melodically dense shimmer guitars delve into the winding melodies of 90s greats like Polvo and Shiner (more specifically Shiner main man Allen Epley’s follow-up project The Life and Times) as Rodman Steele drives hard into a slinking bass hook.  All throughout guitarist/vocalist Luke Nassar croons with a trembling gusto that’s perfectly suited to the knife-edged but melodic sound that the band employs as a whole.  There’s a twitching, nervous math-rock twitch to the constant tempo switches but more harmonic indie cadences lend the music a pop sensibility.  A section where the music pulls back entirely allows Luke’s voice to shine brightly before the entire band comes crashing in with a resounding BANG!  Winding, noisy guitar riffs send the song off into the sunset atop a saddle of punk-laden drum slaps that keeps this jam constantly moving forward and never regressing. 

Though “Feeling Right” toys with a bit of the same template it’s much more uplifting and upbeat.  Trading the opener’s faster rushes for a swirling, cosmic mid-tempo juxtaposes soulful r & b bass rhythms with a jazzy Texas shuffle-styled beat that provides a unique contrast to the rocked-out guitar lines filtered through a reggae tonality.  Harmony vocals yield further richness to the track and Nassar absolutely sets this number off with a fiery little guitar solo in the second half while the rhythms entrench themselves deep in the pocket and a Hammond organ provides an emotional hymnal quality.  “Therapy” thrives on a hypnotic pop-structuring that benefits from an oft-repeated, melodic riff pattern kept well-fortified by Steele’s growly bass licks and Jensen’s half-tempo pop punk romper stomping.  Restrained breaks with blinking, diamond-sharp guitar melodies duet with the vocals before the song shoots directly back into its intoxicating main idea. 

“Avalanche’s” bread and butter is the glory-bound, pinpoint vocal melodies and center stage piano concerto which leisurely takes the tune to its near midpoint.  It’s such a beautiful arrangement that you want it to go on forever but Blue Apollo smartly interject nuance and multiple aural change-ups before the track comes to a dewy-eyed close.  Cello, minimalist drum beats, quick swipes of guitar and bass enter the fray halfway through, leading up to a dazzling, riffed-up band jam.  A particular highlight is Nassar’s vintage blues guitar leading and powerhouse riffs while his band delivers the bombastic goods in tandem.  “Meant to Be” is a brilliant singer/songwriter composition mainly featuring Nassar’s glistening vocal melodies and his tender, plucky acoustic guitar work but again looks can be deceiving and the song ends on a completely opposite note from whence it began; leaving “Circles” to close the EP off in a jam gifted with many varied musical accoutrements. 

All-in-all Light-Footed Hours is a diverse EP that excels on every front.  The instrumentation is dazzling, the production airtight, the writing memorable and the performances exploding with emotion.  I could see this release appealing to fans of blues rock, pop punk and experimental indie music which is a testament to the number of different styles that it chooses to tackle

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