Monday, February 5, 2018

Blue Apollo - Light Footed Hours + Circles (2017)

Written by Laura Dodero, posted by blog admin

Formed in the summer of 2014 by drummer Jeremiah Jensen and guitarist/vocalist Luke Nassar, the duo started writing songs together and thus the groundwork was laid for a new project called Blue Apollo.  Through the gradual process of band changes and development they signed up bass player Rodman Steele as well as lead guitarist Jean Paul Labastida.  Sadly, Jean Paul’s tenure didn’t last but the band was able to settle on a permanent line-up; a trio configuration that recorded 2017’s Light-Footed Hours EP.

Calling upon deliciously 90s influences like Midwestern space rock, pop punk, indie rock, emo and whatever else they can get their hands on, Blue Apollo are a tight knit unit all over these 6 songs.  “Walls” is the dipping, diving opener full of craggy guitar work that usually lays down a rhythm riff, splinters off into winding tapestries of spacey melody and even sends Nassar on a hot-blooded solo frenzy before the proceedings some to a close.  Throughout Jensen peppers the mixture with cranking beats heavy on the tom/snare flurries making sure time stays locked down while Steele smothers the percussive pop in a blanket of crystal clear low notes.  Luke also handles the lead vocals and his standout melodies just drip with passion and good taste as the song goes careening into a pretty explosive finale.  Though it halts the tempos and pacing about a half-step, follow-up number “Feeling Right” cooks up some stew-y, muscular grooves that’s all about fluid, spiraling bass grooves ripping and rollicking through a haze of indie jangle pop with pretty piercing melodies while Jeremiah produces a sneaky aural bushwhack thanks to some steadfast stick work on the snares.  The kick-off triplet concludes with the riff-y grooves of “Therapy.”  On this jam the rhythm section breaks off a chunk of slinking r & b, giving Luke plenty of room to set alight some grooving rock riffs. 

The album’s second half is much more subdued than the first, although it’s no less compelling.  “Avalanche” is a moody piano and vocal piece that takes a leisurely couple of minutes to pile on any additional layers.  Once textures are carefully sprinkled over Blue Apollo’s orchestral indie-pop platter, the song explodes into an indie-kissed, pop-rock extravaganza brimming with tranquil melodies and harmonies.  “Meant to Be” is almost the mirror image of “Avalanche” if you replace the piano with guitar and branch off from there.  Album endnote “Circles” takes the rocked-out indie groove of the first three tracks and alchemically mingles it with the tranquil ballad mix of the previous two tracks; effectively creating a harmonic merger of the band’s many different ideas and sound combinations. 

Light-Footed Hours is a phenomenal debut with 6 great songs that work as a front to back listen as well as collection of 6 individual tracks each with their own personality.  It’s pretty much safe to say that Blue Apollo is an experimental indie band that isn’t afraid to draw influences from a vast array of different musical genres.  This is well-worth a listen for all fans of upper echelon indie-rock. 

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