Album Review :
ApathyEdge - Balloons EP

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Band: ApathyEdge
Title: Balloons
Label: N/A
Release Date: April 1, 2009
Review By: Scott L


01. The Chance
02. To The End
03. You Move Me
04. Wake Up, Restart
05. One More Sad Song
06. Upside Down
07. Eighteen

You can always tell powerpop that’s done well because it’s a struggle to sit and listen to. Not that listening to it is the struggle… it’s the sitting thing that always gets me. Because everything in you wants to jump up and start moving. Such is definitely the case with ApathyEdge’s forthcoming 7-song release, “Balloons”. The first time I listened to it was in my car. I had just pulled into a drive-thru to grab some dinner. By the time I got to the window, I was lost in the music. It took the guy at the window three tries before I could break free and focus enough to realize he was asking me what kind of salsa we wanted with our carne asada tacos. Catchy, groovy, infectious… and goes great with Mexican food. That’s a tough combo to top.

Style-wise, think Nickasaur!, The Title, and The Ready Set. ApathyEdge, a 4-piece out of Nashvegas, serves up electronic powerpop with a twist; namely a whole mess of guitar. Some of the tracks meld the techno-pop vibe with a bit of an industrial edge. The vocals were smooth and soothing and textured with the standard effects. The keys were adequately bubbly and blended well with the various sampling. For some unknown reason, I’ve always been a sucker for tracks with phone calls in them. I’m not sure why, but ever since Poor Old Lu’s necklace track, I’ve found a strange enjoyment in coming across them. So ApathyEdge’s inclusion of a phone call sample in “You Move Me” was a treat. Wow, where was I? Oh, yeah, breaking down the style. Alright… smooth vocals, lots of guitars, happy keys, and some nifty sound bytes. The production was good, although personally I thought it could’ve used a bit more low-end in places to buff up the sound. It’s catchy and danceable… but this kind of music is made to be played loud and needs to fill a room… probably a big room… and if you can’t feel it around you, I think you’re missing out on part of the experience.

Lyrically, everything was pretty formulaic. And by that I mean that very little on the EP deviates from the industry standard. Songs about relationships, late nights on the dance floor, and broken hearts. Not a whole lot of spiritual orientation in the messages, although “Wake Up, Restart” comes close… “I wanna wake up, I wanna restart / I think it’s time to get my heart beating again / I think its time to let the sunlight in / through the cracks in the walls / yeah I’m gonna let you in / if you promise / that you won’t leave and / you’ll leave no stone unturned”.

David, who handles lead vocals and programming, says, “Our main focus as a band is to get people to have fun. If we can get every single person in the room dancing, then we consider it a success. We’re just out to help people have a good time. We support a few causes, such as the free hugs movement, as well as supporting the children’s heart foundation. We consider ourselves a ‘not for profit’ band since we’re not really out for money and we never really ask for money other than to cover costs. If we could do it for free, we totally would… after listening to us, if the listener can come out with a smile on their faces, then it’s all worth it.”

Standout tracks for me where “Wake Up, Restart” and “To The End” which are both just super catchy tunes filled with hooks that’ll stick with you. Kinda like the cilantro and onions in those carne asada tacos… but in good way.

Overall: ApathyEdge has crafted some nice techno-powerpop that unless you’re stuck in four-point restraints, should have you up and moving in no time. “Balloons” drops on April 1, 2009, so mark your calendars and get ready to groove.