Album Review :
The Apprentice - (S/T)

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Artist: The Apprentice
Album: The Apprentice
Label: Future Destination Records
Release Date: August 15, 2008
Reviewer: Eric Pettersson

Tracklist:
1. Lessons in Letting Your Guard Down
2. Riverside
3. Disease
4. Gray Day in Louisville
5. Tracks
6. This Road
7. Lullaby
8. In the City
9. Adeline
10. Love Deferred

This self-titled album, the forth release from The Apprentice on Future Destination Records, contains many things I expected and many things I didn’t. Most of the songs, such as “Disease,” are built on the mellow coffeeshop singer/songwriter sound that has been the constant foundation from The Apprentice from its beginning. The lyrics talk about life issues with a touch of social commentary, carried out by mid-range vocals that at times are borderline monotone, with acoustic guitars and maybe a little percussion. Nothing too exciting, but it can be nice background music once in a while.

However, this album shows several steps forward for The Apprentice. “Riverside” implements a heavy gypsy beat with loud crashing cymbals and ominous horns. It’s a more experimental side of the band that I haven’t seen before, and I would love to see this sound explored more in the future. My other standout track has to be “Adeline,” a brooding folk rock song with dark lyrics and vocals that march in step with a plodding drum beat. “Tracks” is a full-on rock song with electric guitars and mild distortion effects on the vocals, reminding me of some of the grunge-influenced 90’s alternative bands. Other songs add harmonica and vocal harmonies to create a more country feel, while some of the more somber tracks end up reminding me of Pedro the Lion.

While it has its moments of greatness, this album leans too heavily towards the forgettable and under-produced. If The Apprentice continues to develop and focus on stretching their sound in the ways they’ve done on this album, then their artistic progression should definitely yield great fruit in the future.

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