Friday, August 28, 2009

Review: Apollos Thebe seize the music, and so should you

Prendo: definition - after an extensive look through the ‘Wiktionary’ (a wiki can answer anything these days), I finally discovered ‘prendo’ to mean something along the lines of ‘to seize’, ‘to take’, ‘to hold’, ‘to charm’, and ‘to keep’ in Galician, Spanish and/or French. If I’m wrong, correct me now and I shall forever hold my silence.

Nowhere, though, did I find a definition saying ‘to lose’. And yet, that’s what Apollos Thebe’s new single Prendo is all about - a man losing a lover and a friend, losing the person as they change and start to sound “like everyone else but who you are to me.”

And maybe that epiphany is the point? Maybe when vocalist Alex Dunne loses “something oh so terrible”, he’s thinking of the beauty of the word ‘prendo’ itself while sadly conceding that seizing, holding and keeping the one you think you want is impossible because the landscape of his relationship with the person is shifting without him even noticing.

“Things are not the same as they used to be, and I can’t tell this.”

Or maybe Dunne and the rest of Apollos Thebe simply felt the word ‘prendo’ was a nice title for a song? Either way, over elaboration or not, the fact is Apollos have struck again with this beautiful new single.

Prendo is typical of what we’ve come to expect from Apollos Thebe. The vocals with thought provoking lyrics are at the forefront along with rhythmic drumming and catchy guitar riffs, which are backed by a piano, an acoustic guitar and backing vocals, all of which combine to form this uplifting song.

While new bands arriving on the commercial music scene, like Florence and the Machine and The Temper Trap, continue their foray into a more alternative side of music - moving away from the overplayed three chord indie Kooks sound that has long since lost its hold (not intended as a dig, more so meant as an example of a ‘fad’ band that couldn’t learn a new trick, seeing their popularity die as a result - and I liked their first album!) - Apollos Thebe remain true to their unique sound, “bettering ourselves”, to use their own words, through music with each and every song they write.

The B-side of the Prendo single is G, a song which featured on their self-titled EP but was confined to a 38 second intro. The elongated version featured on the new release is three minutes 28 seconds long and features lyrics, as well as the introduction of a glockenspiel just over a minute into the song - the resulting instrumental succeeding in bringing a smile to my face. How can a song with a well deployed glockenspiel not raise a smile?

A stand out feature of Apollos Thebe is their ability to create good rhythm. A band can make a reputation off of strong, catchy rhythms and in both songs on this single - whether it be the instrumental part of Prendo or the layered lyrics at the end of G - Apollos create various rhythms that grab the listener’s attention and holds it for the duration of the two songs.

And if nothing else, presentation is something to be appreciated, and presentation is everything to this band, which can be seen in the sleeve design for Prendo, handmade by their personal, and evidently multi-talented, photographer, Laura Elizabeth Hughes.

The single is available in Tower Records now. Apollos Thebe perform live on FM104 this Sunday, August 30th from 10pm. Seize the opportunity to hear them live for free in the comfort of your own home!

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