With so many of my recent posts having to do with the arrival of Fall, it seems fitting that this one is about an album called APPLE APPLE. Although the traditional Apple Harvest here in Northern Illinois (and much of the Midwest) is dismal this year (heat followed by frost followed by drought), the new album from THE HARMONICA POCKET would certainly make a mighty fine soundtrack for an afternoon in the orchard – something that I’d still like to attempt even with pickin’s that are slim. Speaking of pickin’…
On APPLE APPLE, the Washington State duo of Keeth Monta Apgar and Nala Walla have surrounded themselves with a talented lot of guest musicians and vocalists to craft a robust collection of mellow, acoustic-driven kindie rock jams. Utilizing a multi-layered and multi-instrumental approach, there’s a lot going on here, and it’s all exceptionally played behind pitch-perfect vocal harmonies. I have a particular affection for stringed instruments, and the fretwork displayed here is pleasing from the start. In fact, I’d like to think that it was Kermit the Frog kickin’ back with that banjo and watching falling leaves on the album opener, “I’m Gonna Count.”
They get the likely singles stacked in early, with “Diaperman” (see the video here) and “Monkey Love” (featuring an appearance by fellow Kindie star, Caspar Babypants) immediately preceeding the appropriately delicious title track. “Afraid of Heights” might just be my favorite song on APPLE APPLE, the smooth tale of a newly-hatched bird, that as the title implies, is afraid of heights. The saxophone is a nice touch on this one. Actually, there’s horns that appear throughout the album, adding to the jazzy undercurrent that features heavily. “Bare Feet” is a prime example of this, with the horn section working alongside a solid guitar lead on a track that brings a slow and steady groove.
With 14 tracks clocking in at nearly 49 minutes of music, APPLE APPLE goes well beyond that “30-minute” sweet spot that I’ve noted in the past when it comes to keeping the attention of my oldest munchkin (she’s only 3), but THE HARMONICA POCKET have certainly crafted a great album for the entire family.
The Rock Father Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
FTC Disclosure: A copy of this album was provided to The Rock Father for the purpose of review consideration. All opinions are that of James Zahn with input from a three-year-old.