THE APPLES IN STEREO: Electronic Projects For Musicians [Yep Roc]

Given the Apples In Stereo’s recent return to their shiny happy pop roots, Electronic Projects For Musicians sounds unfocused. But as a fan-pitched compilation of b-sides and one-offs, it’s a winner, stringing antsy, Superchunk-flavored rockers beside fuzzy, romantic declarations, of which 2001’s “On Your Own” and 2002’s powerhouse “Other” are the finest. You can hear the band nod briefly toward psychedelia and power punk, with the more oddball tunes weighted toward the album’s first half. Inconsistency is an unavoidable problem for collections like this, of course, but if the Apples get more slickly produced and groomed as the tracks progress, they also get funnier and more confident. Witness 2000’s howling Gallagher brothers dis “The Oasis”; granted, it’s a little dated, but for some of us, poking fun at Liam and Noel never goes out of style. Bonus Material: Three unreleased tracks: a short, silly “theme song” (from the band’s website), “Stephen Stephen” (written for Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report) and the lovely “Dreams” (an outtake from 1997’s Tone Soul Evolution). []

—Eric Waggoner