Review written by David Campos
There are days I ponder the idea of parallel universes. There must be entire existences where the world has become very different from its next dimensional kin. Listening to Follow the Sun, the debut album from Asymmetrical Apples, made me think of a parallel universe where the world has been left a post-apocalyptic no-man’s land by God knows what. Society has harkened back to the age of the cowboy, the Neo-Wild West. Folk music has survived the fallout, and is carried across the land by this group of roaming rough riders. How well the music survives depends on who happens to listen when they ride into town.
Asymmetrical Apples, vocally led by Miami resident Shaun Wright, begin their ride with their title song “Follow the Sun” which has a snazzy, stringed intro that is surely focusing on the outside of a saloon. After 8 attention-grabbing seconds, the Apples run out of the saloon and jump on their horses to find to a sexy-Appalachian lady they’ve heard lives around these parts. The banjo-guitar duo does an excellent job of gracefully switching between fast-paced rhythms to a slow, sounding trot akin to the step of horseshoes. It really shines as an introduction into this new world with its adventurous, yet-mildly suggestive lyrics. After this, the album continues onto very simplistic pastures with nothing more than guitars leading the way on the songs “He is My Friend” and “Don’t Hate the Man”, which has sudden, spacey-echo as it goes across its chorus. Night must have fallen across this song.
There are two songs that play on the dichotomy of good and evil that will forever exist in whatever parallel universe we are in. The song “The Devil is Here with Me” is the darkest song on the album. It is also the best one by far. While musical composition may not sound too different from most of the songs, it achieves its place at the top with intellectually; disturbing lyrics about an incident I’d prefer not to even ask about. It really is left to the listener’s psychotic interpretation. I’d be content for it to be on the soundtrack for an indie horror flick. On the flip side of the coin, you find immediate and joyful mischief as you continue the album’s Neo-Wild West adventure with “The Travelin’ Song”. This is the only one that uses percussion instruments of any kind, a tambourine and a wooden block tapping faintly in the background if I’m not mistaken. The lyrics may sound repetitive, but it’s justified with the accompaniment of a banjo-prevalent folk melody that makes you want to strap your boots up, saddle your horse, and join this group to wherever they are going, which seems to be all over the damn place.
The unexpected cello found on the song “In My Dreams” makes it the most unexpected moment on the album. Its nighttime, lullaby feel truly reflects and respects the title it was given. The cello addition is a venture into unknown territory that yielded successful passage. Still, it is rare that a debut album be flawless in execution. Follow the Sun is not one of those. “The Cycle of Cycles” feels more like a demo than finished product. It is one of the weaker songs by far that would feel more at home as a B-side. “Less than a Minute” is a quirky song that really raises an eyebrow and gives you a chuckle. It’s one of the more creative ones. Yet, it suffers by the existence of the similar song “Short and To the Point”. Though this song is just about more than a minute in running time, it feels like a carbon of “Less than a Minute” in execution. It would’ve stood alone and proud if the only lyrical words in the song would’ve been I love you. That really would’ve made it short and to the point. Finally, the song “Tomorrow We Go to the Zoo” is a song that does not belong on the album. The vocals feel screechy and forced, and just give you a feeling of wanting to continue onto something else. Could it have worked for a follow-up album? It sure could have. It just needs a musical re-imagining before being included again.
After riding into the sunset with the album’s conclusion, one knows that you can come across rocky, musical terrain that can be difficult to traverse. Still, that does not damper the adventure and discovery that comes with listening to Asymmetrical Apples’ Follow the Sun. Its existence shows that authentic lovers of music are out there in the wilderness wanting to share something with us. The 110% effort placed on this album’s creation is clearly heard. Based on that, will their music survive the harsh Neo-Wild West they manifested and reach the ears of other roamers across its uncharted parts? The answer is definitely, and with better finesse in their musical trick shots. Until then, hats off to you Apples. You did all right out there.
Official Site – http://asymmetricalapples.com/