Before I heard a note of The History Of Apple Pie’s fine debut album Out Of View, I had a pretty good idea as to how they would sound, turns out I was right. That’s not a bad thing. They are of course another contestant in the so-called 90s indie-rock revival. It seems fitting then that their earliest shows were in support of acts like Yuck and Male Bonding as well as real-deal 90s icon Graham Coxon.
The beauty of Yuck’s self-titled debut was it’s scattershot scope. Dreamy ballads like ‘Suicide Policeman’ followed feedback drenched guitar workouts like ‘Get Away’. However, while The History Of Apple Pie certainly dip into a few genres on Out Of View, one influence in particular really stands out to me, and that’s twee pop.
In terms of reference points, this album has all the signifiers of the average sensitive pop album. You got your songs about crushes and ex-lovers (‘See You) and your songs about feeling left out and looking up to the cool kids (‘You’re So Cool’). What sets Apple Pie apart from other twee-leaning groups though is their ability to distill their influences. Lead singer/guitarist Stephanie Min’s vocals insinuate her lack of stature as her soft, yearning voice fights hard to penetrate the shoegazed wall of sound created by the bands three guitars on tracks like ‘Mallory’ and ‘The Warrior’. The band is at their most twee during songs like the aforementioned ‘See You’ and ‘You’re So Cool’ when bassist Kelly Owens harmonizes with Min in her equally frail, cooing voice. Both songs wouldn’t sound out of place on any Velocity Girl record.
While it does at times rely heavily on its influences, Out Of View is a confident debut album that delivers on the promise of the band’s early singles. In fact, it’s greatest moments like ‘I Want More’ move beyond twee pop in favor of a sound all their own.
While indie pop has seen its merit increased considerably over the last few years, I still feel like this is an important record. The point is, this is a genre that a lot of people felt, and continue to feel very strongly about, including myself. Sure it’s easy to dismiss this stuff as sugary nonsense, but there’s a lot more to twee pop then cardigans and chunky librarian glasses. Twee is punk rock for the literary set. It’s a scene for people who go to shows to sway softly and navel-gaze as opposed to fist-pumping and slam dancing. For a time, this style of guitar pop was major player in the ever-growing indie rock hierarchy. To me, The History of Apple Pie do a pretty damn good job at conjuring up their influences while adding plenty of their own ideas into the mix. Call it nostalgic all you want, these guys and gals know their way around a great hook, end of story. Not every band has to change the world.