Golden Sound, No Glitter
Sweet Apple is a supergroup that shrugs off any pretentions that moniker might suggest. On The Golden Age of Glitter, J Mascis (Dinosaur, Jr) joins Dave Sweetapple, Tim Parni, and John Petkovic (all of Cobra Verde and others) and featured guests Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees) and Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices) for a relaxed collaboration among friends.
Ten tracks clock in at under forty minutes, and while they’re not particularly glittery each glows with a warmth radiating a golden hue. The mood is usually upbeat if not downright triumphant. Jams unspool over a collection of catchy riffs and bouncy pop choruses, as Mascis drops an effortless guitar solo here or there.
From the get-go, the sunny alt-rock envelopes. “Reunion” revels in the joys of getting back together with old friends with only a slight acknowledgment of the inevitable change occurred. Instead of focusing on change, lost times or nostalgia, the past is jubilantly celebrated: “To the graduating classes! To the ex-lovers! To the tribute bands!” The fun seemingly continues with the poppy “Boys in Her Fanclub,” which belies a morbid tale of fame gone wrong, and the smacking stomp of “Another Desert Skyline.”
Things get a bit serious for acoustic tracks “Let’s Take the Same Plane” and “You Made a Fool Out of Me.” Both are plaintive confessionals, the former of a hesitant love, and the latter of a bitter betrayal. One hopes these aren’t two sides of the same coin.
The Golden Age of Glitter generally keeps the tone light, and if the album was as easy to make as it is to hear, there’ll be many more Sweet Apple records to come.