Were you to pop round to Appleton’s place and skim through their album collection, you’d be certain to find Dinosaur Jr, Teenage Fanclub, Pavement, Pixies and others of that indie-American-influenced ilk. This is a French band, from Hyères, who wear their influences sur leur douilles. As ‘Headstrong’ boldly states, “it’s the same old story told a hundred times” but it’s done with such verve, and channelling the same energy that You’re Living All Over Me and Bandwagonesque had, that it really doesn’t matter where their inspiration comes from. All that’s important is that they're resurrecting guitar rock of a certain era in a vivid way.
‘Twenty Five’ is melodic Pavement-like guitar rock, with a slacker lament: “25 – you’re already too late”. ‘Portand’ is slow building and introspective but eventually explodes after two minutes, sounding a little like Angelo Badalamenti being hijacked by Pixies, and ‘New Again’ has a smouldering grandeur. But much more typical are the catchy guitar furnace of ‘Burning Land’ while ‘Johnny’s Theme’ is like all the best bit of Dinosaur Jr and early TFC combined: guitars fraying and fuzzing but with a great melodic thrust. ‘Nebraska’ only lets the side down by fading out its hook-laden guitar sound just too soon.
You know the sound to expect but, if you’ve been sucked up in the current fascination with 80s/90s guitar bands (see Yuck, Cheetahs et al), then Appletop do this outstandingly well. Get acquainted.