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Apple Of Discord
You're Not The Answer
Engineer Records/Azteca Records

The opening number on the second full-length album by Apple Of Discord is a catchy pop-rock song driven by shimmering, stereo guitars that builds until lead singer James Cuartero belts "your innocence" as best he can. Inevitably, he sounds like a melodramatic teenager who can't express the angst inside him. All too frequently on You're Not The Answer, Cuartero's emotions crescendo into a half-assed yell.

Let's not underestimate the rock scream. If you're going to yell in a rock band, don't half-ass it. John Lennon's raw vocals on "Twist And Shout" marked the start of The Beatles' career. Kurt Cobain's ragged yelps influenced thousands of bands after him. When the banjo wielding Avett Brothers howl, you can see they're about to pass out (but still on key). The point being: if you're going to get loud, put some balls into it.

Having said that, let's point out the positive features of the band. Musically, Apple
Of Discord sounds great. The instrumentals are tight and the songs are well constructed. Furthermore, Cuartero is a good singer and his more intimate vocals are reminiscent of Guster singer Ryan Miller.

But there's not a lot to distinguish the songs on You're Not The Answer. As the album mopes on, you swear you're listening to the previous song. Loneliness from a love gone wrong is an all too frequent recurring theme, as well as self-deprecation. The album follows a sad, lonely guy who will "never turn into someone valuable" and is "tired of being a disappointment". Each song is a thinly veiled jab at a girl who broke a man's heart, with the occasional astrological reference such as "the sun", an "eclipse", and/or "space dust". One example of these doosies is on "The Earth Turned Slower", which features the line - "maybe it's the million-year-old starlight that's bringing out your smile".

You're Not The Answer ends with a quiet, acoustic ballad that sounds like a nice outtake from a Coldplay album (except for the pregnant pauses). Crooning over a 12-string, Cuartero settles in perfectly when he isn't trying to pull any heartstrings.

It's a possibility that the melodramatic pros of Cuartero will resonate to certain people. Personally, I'm confident that Apple Of Discord will find its home on my cd shelf right next to the bands I used to love in high school.

-Jon Murray

Track Listing:
1. You're A Magic Lamp That's Out Of Wishes And Out Of Love
2. Poison Arrow
3. The World Will Never Defeat You
4. The Earth Turned Slower
5. Do You Remember The Eclipse?
6. The 100 Secret Senses
7. Hold On To Your Love
8. Blowing Out The Sun
9. He Said It Was The Voodoo
10. I Was So Sure

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