How D’ya Like Them Apples?

Make no mistake about it, The City Apples are a band who are progressing. They have a very solid EP under their belt. If you take into consideration that they came together only in January 2012, this is very solid indeed. The EP, released last week at a launch party in the Mercantile, features songs with rich melody with textured guitar, but when you want that kick, that bolt of lightning, you get that too. “Trading Up” and “Inside Job” are arguably my favourite tracks off the EP, and here the songwriting is at its strongest. Their sound is good company for drinking beer or watching football, and if you understand that, you’ll know more than most people. Bassist Sam Henderson describes their sound as “old fashioned straight up rock & roll with no frills, but with a modern edge.” A modern edge he says. Does that mean they do covers of “Gangnam Style”? Thankfully, no. This is not that kind of band. These four lads take their music very seriously, and without a doubt it seems to be taking them places.

The band formed out of the ashes of Stone Motion, of which Ger and James were members of, with Sam and Neil completing the quartet. Neil has a history of session playing behind him which is often key to many new bands, giving them experience, knowledge and most of all, comfort in the studio. On his “Played With” list, Ger boasts time with Neil Hannon, Cathy Davey, Lisa Hannigan and even Trinity Orchestra, however we’ll just forget about that last one. They worked on their EP with NDT Productions to get the sound that mirrored their vision. The lads have been labelled “Bards of the Millennium”; high praise indeed. Amidst an era of viral videos and every new release featuring David Guetta, let’s hope these guys stick around. I think we’d all be better for it. In their short history, the band have already found that spark, that light that makes them shine. What does make them a modern band? They sing songs about the recent times in Ireland, the emigration of their childhood friends and other sinister and uplifting matters. To prove to the doubters that he was genuine, of the Manic Street Preachers once used a pen to carve the words of “4 REAL” into his hand for on-looking journalists. Here, the City Apples are just that.

Only last month, the City Apples were up in Derry playing at the Other Voices festival. “There wasn’t an empty pub, nor a non-full one in the city” Sam throws in about Derry. Other Voices is the kind of festival that is growing in numbers attending, but skyrocketing in terms of importance to bands. Getting up to Derry just before their EP came out too – the band couldn’t have asked for more. However, they do want more. And rightly so. The morning after their EP launch, the band were informed they made it down to the last 120 bands in a competition to play at the Main Stage of Glastonbury. Very impressive. Now let me tell you: 8000 bands entered. I know.

After only a year together, a lot of bands would still be going back and forward over their name. At the end of March, the City Apples are off to Germany to expose Merkel and co to their sound. This writer wishes them the best of luck. To finish off neatly; understanding the music industry and how it works is key. While new bands can learn a lot along the way, you must have something going into it. Knowing what’s important and what appeals is essential. Sam muses that “Music is all about relevance, and music which is relevant never goes out of fashion. It’s timeless.” Sam gets it. Watch this band. Listen to this band.

Ciaran O’Connor

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