APPARENTLY NOTHING – Sprawl
It’s hard to believe that a band as good as Apparently Nothing has been falling through the notoriety cracks. Sprawl is their fourth album of adventurous, melodic rock-and-roll and has the band sounding fresher than ever. Perhaps it’s because none of the band members are of legal drinking age yet and, for the most part, are relegated to underage performance venues. Despite this being our third review of Apparently Nothing, it goes to show how fine music can be entirely overlooked and the talents of underage musicians downplayed. Hell, when I was their age I was still figuring out a cool way to spit.
Sprawl is a masterfully recorded disc with drum tracks recorded at DNA and the rest done by the band in their own studio. Mixing and mastering were done by Eric Katte (who works with Rick’s Café as an assistant copy editor and is also employed by Full Compass). Katte’s work is splendid and he and Apparently Nothing have consistently put out great-sounding rock records. Many of Sprawl’s tracks run together treating the listener to an exciting and professional listening experience that can stand up to your favorite rock-and-roll albums. In fact, the CD runs like a two-sided piece of vinyl with silence between tracks six and seven only. Great rock bands of yore are frequently called to mind: Foghat, Cheap Trick, Grand Funk, Led Zeppelin, as well as current favorites like the Foo Fighters. They pay homage to Tom Petty by lifting the “freeway running through the yard” line in “Sprawl” and imitate the country/blues side of the Rolling Stones on “A Life Undone.”
Most impressive of all are the arranging skills of the band. Each track boasts a killer hook, either vocally or instrumentally and frequently both. The title track benefits from some sweet-toned slide guitar while “Reason for Leaving” has just enough imperfection in the guitar solo to insure true rock authenticity. Layne Knudtson’s drumming is solid throughout Sprawl, giving these highly charged tunes even more energy.
Apparently Nothing’s lyrical content has matured as well. For example, “Being Saved” sounds as if it might be aimed at the music industry: “Just sign on the line… / You’re just a handshake away from being saved.” Main man Aaron Shekey’s singing just gets better as well, hitting falsetto on “All I Need” and “Thirteen,” a standout track with Radiohead overtones. Hidden track #13 boasts some Beatle-esque harmonies and, while sounding like a demo recording, is very catchy.
Apparently Nothing’s formula is far from rocket science: Good singing, good playing and great songwriting. Their crowning achievement is that they sound damn good while doing it. They’ve already produced more original music than many musicians do in a lifetime and one can only surmise at how far their considerable talent could take them.