BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Love & Desperation, the first LP by all-star rock & roll ensemble Sweet Apple, is an exciting mélange of pop, punk and ‘70s glam rock, with a particular emphasis on the latter. The Golden Age of Glitter, the four-years-in-the-making follow-up, seems to promise the same by its very title. In truth, John Petkovic (Cobra Verde, Death of Samantha), J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Tim Parnin (Cobra Verde) and Dave Sweetapple (Witch) dial back the glam brashness somewhat, but it’s all in service of putting the focus even more squarely on the well-developed melodies.
“Under the Liquor Sign,” “Troubled Sleep” and “Wish I Could Stay (A Little Longer)” (a duet with Mark Lanegan) scratch the power pop itch more satisfyingly than most bands have done since the late ‘70s. “We Are Ruins” adds a heady psychedelic vibe to singalong hooks, while “Let’s Take the Same Plane” works a softer, prettier angle, aided by singer Rachel Haden. This isn’t to say the record doesn’t get plenty loud when it wants to; “I Surrender” and “Reunion” kick up the mic stand and set off the pyro, the latter with the assistance of Robert Pollard, while “Boys in Her Fanclub” rocks like a great lost Redd Kross single.
It may not carry quite the swagger of Sweet Apple’s first album, but The Golden Age of Glitter still proves to be shiny indeed.
DOWNLOAD: “Boys in Her Fanclub,” “Reunion,” “We Are Ruins”