Is folk dead? Now as one who's not much of a folk fan I might say yes. That is until I heard this group. A punky indie four-piece out of Birmingham, England, Apollo is an indie rock group that revives some of the simple, acoustic sounds of folk and marries them to punky indie hooks and quirky rock rhythms.
Made up of Zak Edwards (guitar and vocals), Mick Fenton (lead guitar), Paul Hudson (bass), and Paul Byrne (drums), Apollo delivers catchy hooks and incredible guitar licks all over their EP, M. The first song I listen to is the short, acoustically-driven "M," the closest in this groups set-list to folk-rock (in my opinion, that is), and an incredible song. Riding on the ringing notes of Fenton's and Edwards' guitar playing, and Edwards' sultry vocals through the first verse, Hudson quietly joins on the bass, and Byrne comes in on a nice, chilled-out drum beat. Towards the end of the short number, Fenton takes the guitar from a folk-inspired sound to a hard-rock one, almost emulating a sound something like Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Next it's on to "Rinky Dink," a faster, much more punk song that blends Byrne's snare and high-hats with a distorted riff set down by Fenton (and Byrne's fantastic and unexpected drum rolls don't hurt at all). Under it you can hear the soft, yet strong, plucks of Hudson's bass, and over it all, Edwards' smooth vocals. Then I'm soared away on Fenton's killer guitar licks, distorted and almost messy, with a somewhat Mudhoney effect. Fantastic.
The next and last song I listen to, "Velvet Sky," showcases the group's pride in their home and heritage by maknig use of a sound I can only compare to The Beatles. And even if this wasn't their intention, it sounds awesome, and when someone says you sound like The Beatles, that's always a compliment. "Velvet Sky" relies more on Byrne's drumming that the previous two, and it's all that much better for it. A straight-laced rock and roll-sounding song, definitely one of my new favorites of the week. And Fenton's Clapton, Cream-like guitar shredding towards the end just shows me more that these guys are going somewhere, and they know it.
Sounds Like: Cream, The Beatles, The Who, The Stone Roses
Key Tracks from M: "M," "Rinky Dink," "Velvet Sky"
Check out Apollo more at: http://www.unsigned.com/apollo