Review- “Landmark”- Apollo Ghosts

reviewed by Michael Thomas

Apollo Ghosts first came to my attention back in 2010 when their previous full-length, Mount Benson, was long-listed for the year’s Polaris Prize. I had been vaguely aware of the band before, but I got my first real taste of them with their third full-length in total. I even did some listening to Mount Benson for some comparison.

It turns out this band is pretty damn prolific. They’ve released so, so much music in such a short period of time that I’m surprised that they’re still as fresh and exciting as ever. While Mount Benson was a concept album, Landmark keeps itself together with a (mostly) pure sense of joy.

And the band also has a lot of short songs- something I’ve always been a fan of. A lot of them are really short (less than two minutes) but each song feels complete in itself- like a full thought and not a half-thought.

From Landmark you will get a lot of catchy electric guitar, lots of vocal mixtures and some great lyrics. My favourite line of the album has to be from “Violet Margaret”: “Oh my god, you monogrammed our suitcase.”

So where exactly is this joy I’m talking about? “American Joint” and “I’m in Love With the U.S.A.” are two prime examples. They’re short and sweet and sunny numbers that pass like a perfect summer day (they even call “American Joint” a summer song; see the video for it below). “Weekend Fantasy” is also filled with nice grooves, and the energy of “Newcastle” is totally undeniable. Just try not to yell “NEWCASTLE!” along with the band members- I dare you.

The band also treats the sombre with a lot of tact. “So Much Better When You’re Gone” is decidedly depressing. I may even go so far as to call it a perfect breakup song- the emotion in this song is very raw despite its quiet tone. ”

Apollo Ghosts are now part of You’ve Changed Records, and as one who has heard many an album from that label, I was absolutely delighted with the upbeat and positive “Guitar Brother.” It mentions Shotgun Jimmie by name and I’m fairly sure the repetition of the phrase “proud mother” is a reference to Baby Eagle’s backup band.

There is a lot to love about Landmark. It’s rare for a fifteen-song album to feel like it’s gone by quickly, but this album does just that. If this album were any more catchy they might start controlling the world.

The album will be out May 15, 2012, via You’ve Changed, but you can already stream it or get it as a name-your-price download from Bandcamp.

Top Tracks: “Why Can’t I Be the Man on Stage?”; “So Much Better When You’re Gone”; “I Followed the Rules and I Got Everything”; “Guitar Brother”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*

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