The Aprons – Sound Stain

In fact their gift for simple and effective melody is nigh on ridiculous;  why music like this isn’t clogging up radio is a mystery until you consider their music’s essential DNA which is a bit weird, a bit unsettling.

http://theaprons.bandcamp.com/

An excellent record and one that is deeply trippy; though you do have to overcome your Psychicke defences when presented with the sleeve notes and imagery: the two ladies who comprise Aprons seem to want to inhabit a Brothers Grimm story, albeit one laced with a strong dose of the psychedelic; and one plumped up with plenty of batty notes and patently whimsical observations. BS Johnson would have exploded with rage... And initially tired old cynics like me could dismiss this as affectation bordering on the criminally insane, but luckily not much rests on this kind of fantasy and its handmaiden, melodic whimsy - often the Achilles heel of this kind of music. No, tracks like Everything, Hysterically Numb and Soundstain lean towards Nico’s menacing, deadpan take on pop rather than any Cinderella Rockefella nonsense.

So this is powerful pop music, yes, looking towards the 60s, but with muscle and plenty of atonal passages, some which dissolve into a very appealing dissonance. It’s also good to hear the bass get some clout as it fits their muse very well; it gives weight and menace in tracks like This Time and The Second Time; the latter switching between tough, confident, drive-time pysch pop and unsettling, passages that threaten to disappear into the Wild Wood. A song like Firefly, you would think, (given title and some of the lyrics) would surrender thricefold to whimsy, but things often turn on a very unsettling bass line, which seems to have this track on a tight lead. It’s so simple and far better than what it could have been in a softer, more acceptable setting; albeit without ever getting arsty or obscure. In fact their gift for simple and effective melody is nigh on ridiculous;  why music like this isn’t clogging up radio is a mystery until you consider their music’s essential DNA which is a bit weird, a bit unsettling. Maybe its natural habitat is the bedroom: the lyrics “when we are alone / everything goes wrong” on Ain’t So reek of joss sticks and open bottles of Baileys Irish Cream, whereas Hysterically Numb is Goth acid pop par excellence; the deadpan vox here playing some role like a conduit towards some wider, madder power source.

We’d say it’s well worth a few spins.