Formally called Cherry, Russell Edling has changed his moniker to Golden Apples for his new album Shadowland. Not only does the name change help eliminate a very hard google search for the band but Golden Apples is a new level of indie rock from Edling. Lockdown punched everyone in the gut and for Edling it was no different as isolation brings depression and also magnifies any other challenging life events that are sent your way. These challenges also meant adapting to a more fragmented recording process that included time between Edling’s place in Philly and his parents house in northern Pennsylvania taking back over his high school bedroom. He also then grabbed other music pieces when he could as Shadowland features three different guitarists.
The best part about Edling’s process is that you can’t hear it in the music as Shadowland wraps you with its lo-fi fuzz and warm harmonizing backing vocals. The album has flash backs to past indie greats like The Microphones and Sebadoh but with a more contemporary front and center vocal like Alex G. Edling’s approach walks a perfect engaging balance that includes a tiny bit of effect and then he frees his voice and can put it out completely in front. The back n’ forth helps you absorb every line while the music keeps you swaying.
Shadowland is about the weight of depression and how it can always be there but it also highlights that “shadows” can provide some shelter to keep moving forward. The music here is just that, as each track has a foot tapping rhythm to it but even on slower songs like “Jock,” “Return To Shadowland” and “Wildflowers,” the songs build off of overdubs which create a sonic indie explosion that I really liked.
Golden Apples check all the lo-fi indie rock marks here which gives Shadowland a high replay value. Quick turning and witty track after track is what you get as every song easily sticks in your head. I also can’t say enough on how Edling built this album from a place on uncertainty but his closing track, “I Don’t Want The Shadow” tells all in the title as he is looking for Golden Apples to blossom as we all scrap and pull our way out of these pandemic days the best we can!
Key Tracks: “Tangerine II” / “Garbage” / “Fun II”
Artists With Similar Fire: Alex G / The Microphones / Sebadoh
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony