The rules are somewhat explicit. If you send Lazer Guided Melody a record, and the editorial team decide that they like it when it’s late at night and they’re fucking about on the communal stereo, it’ll get featured. Might be a delay – bursting email inboxes collide with hectic lifestyles, apparently – but them’s the rules, for good or ill, and there’s so much stuff hiding away in the crevices and mal-illuminated sectors of the musicosphere that the editorial team would feel somewhat sullied if the only material that ever graced these pages was eagerly forgotten slices of twee indie pop from when that self same editorial team were in small trousers.
Which brings us to Kilburn State, the new album by Apple Rabbits. This has the word interesting scrawled all over it in unmistakeably striking letters. An album that began life as an extension / reinterpretation of 2011’s predecessor long-player King Of Anglia, then subsequently veered off trailing some very different compass points.
Lead single ‘I Could Not Care Less’ first surfaced a couple of years ago, and it appears below the words because it’s a great, intriguing track. There’s a crafty ’80’s vibe going on, darkly oblique lyrics and intelligent songcraft that reminds this listener a little of Momus, or perhaps in substance, style and inflexion (though obviously not the vocal mechanics) of Scritti Politti. The same suggestion of sheen, perhaps.
As a song however, it’s utterly unrepresentative of the album. This is something that strip mines some retro, left-field, ambient electronica. Arcane samples that emphasize a constant drifting in influence. Elements of Wagon Christ, Banco De Gaia, Mike Paradinas’ μ-Ziq project… although just when you think you’ve got a precise handle on the vogue, the target moves again; even a visit to King Of Anglia – with it’s attention upon a melodic songcraft frequently reminiscent of a stripped-back Muse (although thankfully without the overt pretension) – doesn’t help when powering up the GPS, when locating this State of Kilburn.
The incoherence triggered from this constant head-turning isn’t necessarily a weakness; in an era that can frequently appear complicit in the force-feeding of the utterly safe, challenging fayre that’s clearly musically literate is something to cling to. And maybe that’s the problem; it’s perhaps too musically literate, a wee bit too clever for drunken blog editors fucking about on stereos late at night…
Apple Rabbits / I Could Not Care Less