Album Review: Sweet Apple – Love & Desperation

Posted on 1 March 2010
By Amy Roberts
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Oh dear. We’re not sure how we feel about the cover art to Sweet Apple’s Love & Desperation – we get it’s referencing of Roxy Music’s Country Life, but seriously? The whole thing screams of cheapness and that poor brunette looks more than a little malnourished. We might even have to start rubbing a Sayers cheese pasty on her sleeve notes in the hope that we might achieve some voodoo act of getting meat on her bones from afar.

Oh well.

Anyway, the album, which could probably be renamed ‘When I Get Sad, I Get Rad’, see’s John Petkovic working through a multitude of personal tragedies and anguish with fellow Cobra Verde bandmate Tim Parnin, and Dinosaur Jr.’s Jay Mascis.

Conceived from an aimless and dejected cross country drive following the death of Petkovic’s mother, Love & Desperation bears all the classic hallmarks of anthemic motor rock collections. The kind of stuff that spirited middle aged men everywhere blast out of their pride and joy on four wheels on hot summer days. It’s an engine chugger alright, but it’s a little easy listening. A little arena rock. A little half arsed and little else.

It’s strong points lie in it’s emotional density, and it’s ability to take a particularly heavy lyric and offset it against an upbeat and resolute riff of defiance.

For the most part though, it doesn’t stand out in a crowd. It has the potential to be amazing – but instead it sounds somewhat half finished, with a guitar sound that at times resembles something that you might have heard on a copy of Wayne’s World for the Megadrive.

There are a couple of diamonds in the rough. Kind of. Hold Me, I’m Dying is pretty fucking catchy, and contains the instantly relatable lyric, ‘we’re dying/ So let’s fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck till we die’, and Dead Moon has a dreamy cadence to it which is refreshing amongst all the chug-chuggery of the more cock rock elements of the album.

But then songs like Do You Remember and Flying Up A Mountain sound a bit like Jack White has thrown all the songwriting scraps from his own supergroup projects and left Sweet Apple scrabbling about for them, furiously trying to construct something worth high fiving over later. The end result is stagnant and uninspiring, covering well tread – if not distinctly OVER-tread – ground, and is unfortunately forgettable.

In short, Love & Desperation is so sadly disappointing that I might have to do a cry, wipe my tears away with my Dinosaur Jr. tee and scream ‘MASSSCIIIISSS, NO!’ at the top of my lungs in a psychotic bundle of upset in an unmoving car somewhere.

Heartbreaking. Truly.

Love & Desperation is released on April 19th.

Sweet Apple on Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/sweetapplesongs