Rob Jones

I knew nothing about Silver Apples until the recently departed Alan Vega and Marty Rev (of Suicide) gave this cult act the thumbs up. One has to say what is good by Suicide is good by me! Therefore, it was alarming that after this contemporary discovery-Silver Apples who emerged in 1967 are back on the recording trail. ‘Clinging to a Dream’ is a first album for 19 years and 11 fresh tunes recorded at the ChickenCoop studios in Fairhope, Alabama have been produced by Graham Sutton in London.

Silver Apples are a kind of future to the back and then back to the future experience. Silver Apples were a leftfield sixties representation of what the years ahead would sound like. This sort of approach when it first arrived in a guitar led decade was no doubt hugely radical-and, outsiders such as the Suicide personnel-(not united until 1970)-picked up on this well wide of the mainstream aural alchemy. These were the sort of sounds that could accompany a Gerry Anderson production-yes, it’s twisted and contorted-otherworldly-especially in the context of its era. Sci-fi well before wi-fi! 2001 a space odyssey! However, 2001 is now well gone-and, we are not all walking around in astronaut attire. So what of Silver Apples?

Simeon Coxe, founder and sole Silver Apples survivor has used his ChickenCoop imprint to filter via Cargo Records-and, we now also have the delights of earlier efforts such as ‘The Garden’, ‘Beacon’ and ‘Decatur’ back in circulation. These works and the current collection have Silver Apples step outside the expansive borders of electronic music and traverse in to their own unchartered universe.

Silver Apples has its main man having just turned 78 years-but, in all fairness this 2016 release is yet another document that shows that age is no barrier to good music. There may be veteran performers going over the same ground in order to earn a crust but not here. Silver Apples tread through tune territories that are led by ‘B’ movie aliens and flying saucers. From the opening overtures of ‘The Edge of Wonder’ onwards we are taking on a ride through groove galaxies.

In view of the technology that today offers proceedings here can be basic. Weird, wacky and wayward implements will be employed and they may originate form those nascent days. There is both method and madness-but, there is also magic! ‘Clinging to a Dream’ may be a nightmare to those aficionados who value a structure with hook lines aplenty and a solid sing-song spine. What is prevalent is poetic prose layering raw rhythms which parallel the electric enterprise of Suicide-but, one has to say Silver Apples came first-so it is credit to Simeon. Even though it is nearly 50 years since that adventurous arrival the rocket rhythms of Silver Apples will not be landing on the compromise runway any time soon. This release does not aim for commercial gold. However, it would be great if more radio friendly tracks such as ‘Susie’ and ‘Fractal Flow’ filled the dancefloors-and, it might even result in a choreographically challenged character such as myself throwing a few ungainly shapes!