Bad news for you fingers-and-toes-counting musicians out there: turns out math isbecoming exceedingly important in composition. And not just clap-clap-clap count the beats math, but whiz-kid mathematics, like the kind behind the "Non-Pythagorean" scale Apples in Stereo frontman Robert Schneider invented for structuring songs on New Magnetic Wonder. But he didn't just stop there: Schneider also then effed up some recording equipment by laying tracks upon tracks upon tracks upon tracks, building a dense mortar that supports the Apples' ever-important pop crust. The highest number exceeds almost 100 tracks in a single song. To top it off, the album includes two dozen tracks, half of them actual "proper" songs, and the other half mere niblets—all definitely exhausting to compose. Though Schenider's recording industriousness might suggest a sort of suffocating, Corgan-ish sense of pretentiousness, New Magnetic Wonder has more in common with Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin (but less emphasis on the fuzz-plosion stuff), with the Apples' signature station-wagon-pop sound very much still intact. Noteworthy tracks include "Play Tough," which serves as the confidence boost that most everyone in the indie rock industry could probably use, "Sunday Sounds" and "Same Old Drag," sweetly reminiscent of the Jeepster back catalogue. Nicely done. (Kate Carraway)
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