An Acquired Taste
Clinging to a Dream is an auditory acid trip. Sounds swirl and bubble out of the speakers while spoken word lyrics drone over this vertigo of sound. This combination creates what can be described as an acquired taste. The sound of the tracks are interesting and attention grabbing, but the vocals make the listener question whether or not they actually like what they are listening to. For those who already know Silver Apples, this album brings the sound they’re known for. Not all the tracks in this album secrete this particular flavor though. Hidden within Clinging to a Dream exist musical gems.
The majority of this album feels like the listener is riding shotgun with Alice as she make her way through the rabbit hole. The vocals are difficult to decipher and the instrumentals possess a psychedelic grooviness that confuses the senses. All of this said, Silver Apples delivers the album endearingly. “The Edge of Wonder” starts the album with a bubbly goofiness that makes Clinging to a Dream hard to take seriously at first but the longer it plays, the more the easy carelessness that is delivered through the track is conveyed to the listener. Not far off in the track list, “The Mist” brings a more serious aura to the album with it’s psytrance feel. This theme is also present in the album’s standout track, “Concerto for Monkey and Oscillator.” This primal sounding track comes together on multiple levels and produces a sound that is quietly addicting.
The vocals in this album are mostly spoken word which makes many of the tracks sound like spell incantations. Alongside this effect, the lyrics themselves are hard to interpret rendering the overall meaning and the direction of each track illusive. “Drifting” is a perfect example, as the track is layered with psychedelic melodies and news broadcasts. This creates an interesting sound but may risk failing to connect with the common listener. One only wishes more of the album went in the direction of “Concerto for Monkey and Oscillator,” but when you see the group’s history it all makes sense. Silver Apples has been producing electronic music since the late ’60s, and has been known to use more oscillators in live shows than they had hands and feet to control. In 2005 percussionist Danny Taylor passed away, but that didn’t mark the end of Silver Apples. Group member Simeon Coxe possessed enough bytes of Taylor’s drums to keep producing with his band mate. Now for the first time in almost twenty years Silver apples give us Clinging to a Dream, which is caught somewhere between the sub-genres of krautrock and psytrance.
Overall Silver Apples has kept the sound they are known for. Whether or not the listener loves their new album they have stayed true to their sound which is commendable. What came out of Clinging to a Dream in “Concerto for Monkey and Oscillator” and “The Mist” is a great new direction that shows some exciting potential for what may be to come, and at the very least those two tracks are essential listening.