Album Review: Apple Of My Eye – The Beast Below

Apple of my Eye have three albums to their name to date, their latest offering being the absolutely incredible The Beast Below. If you want playful, funny songs then this is the album for you. If you want deep, beautiful melodies then this is the album for you. If you want a rich and tender series of harmonies then this is once again the album for you.

As you might have imagined by now, The Beast Below has something to please everyone. The album practically erupts to life with visions of an epic battle on the vast oceans. Giant tentacles crash down from a vicious beast while the brave men try desperately to fight for their lives. This is the perfect song to open the album as it very quickly gives rise to their phenomenal ability to harmonise across their vast 7-piece group whilst also giving light to their playful side – a side with which you will surely become acquainted with long before you reach the song Polar Bear. However, songs such as Young One are a breathtaking series of harmonies and minimalistic music that allows you to focus your attention entirely on their inimitable collection of voices that all combine to make a voice that anyone would covet.

Apple of my Eye have carved themselves a very careful niche within the folk genre as they regularly transcend it somewhat and breathe new contemporary life into the genre while clearly drawing influence from the nautical songs of old. There is a timeless quality to their songs that is only elevated by their evocative and almost evolving music. One moment you’re floating on a song that’s jubilant, playful and uplifting and the next you’re brought crashing back down to earth by the deeply haunting likes of Cloth, Needle & Thread – a song that tells the tale of a mine collapse killing hundreds and completed with one of the most ethereal harmonies heard in recent years. This song in particular is totally bone chilling while leaving you totally mesmerised, desperately waiting to see how to story ends.

Musically, the band are quite frankly in a league of their own. Deftly picked guitar strings pervade the scene while being bolstered by a deep and resonant double bass, vibrant and dancing fiddles alongside some of the most toe-tapping harmonica tunes heard outside of blues. One of the most incredible elements to Apple of my Eye’s music is its transformative ability, constantly moving and adapting as the album progresses. Songs like Brother James are loud, raucous and rampaging folk rock medleys that get you slapping your leg and stomping your feet while songs like Dug in the Clay are slower, more placid and show off their genre fusing talents, making you sway like leaves in the breeze. Their songs are either minimalistic or totally ballistic, it’s a journey that you undertake and it’s an adventure every step of the way.

The Beast Below is a perfect example of the wealth of talent that Apple of my Eye have at their disposal. Sweet, tender and rib-ticklingly funny (we’ve not seen any other band that can have you loudly chanting ‘sucking on the nipple of the belly of the beast’ as you wander around your house), this is the perfect album to start your Apple of my Eye collection with.


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Review by Joe Knipe

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