The August Riots

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Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Apollo 101 – ready for take-off?

Lively pop-rock trio Apollo 101 are Norwich’s latest musical sensation, “crash landing” on the local scene. Following a “myriad of electrifying performances” at venues across the east of England, the band are poised to release their debut single ‘One More Chance’. Since forming earlier this year they have gone from strength to strength and are set for a series of pre-Christmas gigs, including the Oxjam Norwich Takeover next weekend, to coincide with the single’s release. The band is comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist Chris Walker, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Josh Rayman and drummer Andy Walker, who also provides backing vocals. Their style has been described as “combining elements of contemporary pop rock with an eighties synth feel” to produce an “engaging and distinctive sound”. Apollo 101 cite amongst their influences artists and bands including Madonna, Muse, a-Ha, Johnny Cash and Joy Division, reflecting their diverse and unique musical style.

In terms of the song itself, ‘One More Chance’ tells a remarkably simple yet painfully understandable story of the end of a relationship; according to the song’s writer Chris Walker the concept behind it, despite arguably having been covered “over and over”, was very much “new ground” for him personally when it was written. The song has been described as “an optimistic proclamation of feelings for someone special”, and despite its simplicity the open and honest nature of the lyrics allows the listener to easily empathise with the feelings being described. Musically the combination of 80s electronic beats and contemporary indie guitar rhythms, whilst not particularly breaking any new ground, is effective and a vindication of the basic formula popularised by MGMT and Bloc Party amongst others. From the moment the first few synthesiser notes creep out, the song gently soars into life and the journey begins. The imagery of the verse as a journey is particularly apt, with the lyrics ‘running, like a tube train, on red and yellow tracks' apparently having been written whilst travelling on the Tube. There is also a strong emotional link to this idea, as Chris Walker “figured that all the different tracks and tube lines were like individual events or thoughts”, frequently colliding and reflecting his emotionally-charged state of mind. The chorus almost lies in wait with the infectious chant of ‘so come on!’ drawing the listener in and carefully building the tension before the explosive chorus. The impact of the chorus is immediate, with the raucous sound and style seemingly instantly recognisable as Feeder-inspired; it charges at you, and quickly forces you to sit up and take notice.

It almost seems as if ‘One More Chance’ sets out to trick the listener; it wants to make them feel as if they have it sussed, but the dramatic changes in focus, tempo and styles throughout the song soon put paid to any thoughts of this. After repeated listens the song becomes entrenched in the listener’s consciousness. Whilst some believe familiarity breeds contempt it isn’t the case here, as after listening again and again the song still sounds as fresh, upbeat and forceful as ever. Although not specifically cited by the band, the fusion of gentle pop, electronic overtures and emotionally-charged choruses echoes the style of the Killers. Musically the song appeals on a number of levels, with its catchiness’ an important ace up the band’s sleeve. Once you’ve heard ‘One More Chance’, it becomes very difficult to forget. Yet the lyrics are also an extremely important to the song’s appeal. Chris Walker’s plea for “one chance to shine” will immediately resonate with many listeners, for it is not grandiose, pretentious desires and emotions he is dealing with, rather understandable and regrettably common ones. Indeed, the band’s debut album, for which the anticipation is set to soar in the aftermath of the single’s release, will be recorded “over the next few months” with its musical style as yet unclear. It seems likely therefore that Apollo 101 will very soon be the name on everyone’s lips, with a nationwide tour in the next year or so a strong possibility for this talented three-piece. So are Apollo 101 ready for take off? I think we can safely say without too much doubt that yes, they are.

1 comment:

  1. yeahhh we now have a blogger blog. The wonders of Ping.fm and multi network posting.

    ReplyDelete