Essential New Music: Sweet Apple’s “Sing The Night In Sorrow”

Sweet Apple has always done what side projects are designed to do: provide a busman’s holiday for its members (Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis, Cobra Verde’s John Petkovic and Tim Parnin, Witch’s Dave Sweetapple) to depart from their accepted modes of expression. The unlikely aggregation follows the general blueprint of its first two albums on Sing The Night In Sorrow, banging out a glammy Big Star-meets-Urge Overkill homage to ’60s psych pop and ’70s hard rock that serves as an elemental soundtrack to songs about love in loveless times (“A Girl And A Gun,” “She Wants To Run”), alienation in a divided world (“Everybody’s Leaving,” “You Don’t Belong To Me”), urban abandonment (“Candles In The Sun”) and navigating life’s pitfalls with a flawed compass (“(My Head Is Stuck In The) Traffic”). Defying the adage about excess cooks spoiling the soup, Sweet Apple perfectly seasons the album with gorgeous, haunting vocals from Rachel Haden and Robert Pollard and contributions from Mark Lanegan and Doug Gillard. In a just world, Sing The Night In Sorrow would be a summertime hit of top-down/cranked-up proportions.

Brian Baker