On Velocity of Sound, the fifth album from Denver's Apples in Stereo, the band abandons its psychedelic flirtations in favor of a more stripped-down approach to '60s pop.

On Velocity of Sound, the fifth album from Denver's Apples in Stereo, the band abandons its psychedelic flirtations in favor of a more stripped-down approach to '60s pop. Guitar solos are kept to a minimum, and nearly every superfluous sound has been removed. What's left is a tightly wound core of guitar, bass, drums, and vocal harmonies that naïvely captures the spirit and spunk of early rock icons the Kinks and the Beach Boys. Even with the addition of two new members, bandleader Robert Schneider is still calling the shots. His fuzz-drenched power chords and nasal vocals dominate the album. But some of the best moments come when he lets other instruments step to the fore, most notably on the organ rave-up "Better Days." Schneider's wife Hilarie Sidney contributes lead vocals on "Rainfall" and "I Want," two of the more fast-paced and sunny pop songs in recent memory.—JDF

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