Ladies & Gentleman, Robert Schneider & Co. are Officially Channeling Todd Rundgren & Utopia for Music Fans of the 21st Century! Or Perhaps Jeff Lynne & ELO. It's a Concept Album, Alright, and You Just Might Like It.
Yes, well, bold statements aside... The Apples in Stereo are definitely going for a pure pop sound on Travellers in Time and Space, their seventh studio album, and it recalls so many '70s AM pop vibes I can't even name 'em all. And you wouldn't want me to. I really like this one, I must say, because it's very inventive and feels like one of those guilty pleasure records we all have but few of us will own up to. Schneider calls it "retro-futuristic super-pop" and that is definitely where this baby beds. With the use of all kinds of instruments beyond two guitars-bass-drums, the band crafts a real pleasurable album that reveals more each time it plays. While at times it sounds a little dated (the vocoder sounds both futuristic and horribly cliché at the same time), you can't deny the fact that you're bound to find something to like across the album's 16 songs. "No One in the World" has a decidedly Apples In Stereolab vibe, while "Next Year at About the Same Time" equals Bowie's "Blue Jean" as sung by Chris Difford of Squeeze. (See, the problem with being a big music fan[boy] is that you have to constantly fight the urge to namedrop. It is a battle I've been fighting for decades.) Did I mention "Dignified Dignitary" starts off with a guitar riff a la ELO's "Do Ya"?
"I wanted to make a futuristic pop record," says Schnieder, "to reach out to the kids of the future." He says he imagines their more highly-evolved pop might sound like "shiny soul music with robots and humans singing together," and that he hopes these people will really be into this album. Well, I don't know what kinda drugs he's taking, but if it helps him to write such interesting albums, I say, keep him stocked.