Golden Apples: Bananasugarfire [Album Review]

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Golden Apples
Lame-O Records [2023]

Philadelphia’s Golden Apples’ latest album, Bananasugarfire, is a vibrant addition to indie guitar music. The album showcases a cohesive band lineup and the most genuine bond among its members on record. The album was recorded in various studios and the band members’ homes, featuring dynamic guitar work, sugary vocal interplay, and detailed recordings. There’s a shift in Golden Apples’ lyrical approach, with a newfound recognition of the balance between life’s darkness and light.

The opening track, “Anti-Ant Car,” sets the tone for the record with its lo-fi vocals and fuzzed-up guitars. “Guard Stick” then rolls in with its big, catchy drum beat and hand-clap rhythms, while “Little Bronco” is where the album really takes off. Vocalist/guitarist Russell Edling exudes a bright energy reminiscent of a 90’s alternative style combined with the power-pop sensibility of Sloan, choruses akin to Teenage Fanclub, and some Midwestern lo-fi reminiscent of Guided By Voices.

Compared to Golden Apples’ previous two albums, Bananasugarfire has a more expansive and elated sound. These significant hooks draw you into each track, making songs like “Waiting On A Cloud” and “Kill” memorable. In the latter half of the album, Golden Apples take more chances, as seen in the synth-noise of “Sugarfire,” with its Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo vibes, while the larger rock sound of “Materia” will explode out of your speakers, both tracks surpassing the five-minute mark.

If you’re into guitar-driven tracks and layered melodies, this record will be a fantastic addition to your playlist. It’s clear that Bananasugarfire was created with a genuine enjoyment of making music, evident all the way through – right down to the smoldering closer, “Green,” that builds a wall of sound and quickly fades away. In every strum and melody, Bananasugarfire not only boosts the Golden Apples catalog but also leaves a solid mark of indie craftsmanship.

“Sugarfire” / “Little Bronco” / “Waiting On A Cloud”

Yo La Tengo / Motel Beds / Teenage Fanclub

Golden Apples (2022) / Shadowland (2021)

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Christopher Anthony
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