Apollo Heights – White Music For Black People (Manimal Vinyl)


This New York group’s debut introduces a new wrinkle into the classic shoegaze template, adding soulful vocals and the occasional hip-hop/R&B beat on top of the usual MBV/Ride-esque guitar sounds. While Apollo Heights’ cross-pollination is innovative, I can’t get past the razor-thin recording, which is surprising since David Sitek of TV On The Radio and Robin Guthrie from The Cocteau Twins both produced several songs. Was everyone so excited to have big name producers that nobody paid attention to the lack of low end, the uneven vocal mix, or the overall low volume level? It’s a shame really, because many of Apollo Heights’ songs, like “Everlasting Gobstopper” and “Winter In The Summertime” (the latter featuring Dee-lite’s Lady Miss Kier), have an expansive quality  that shouldn’t have to struggle against a weak production. Luckily the songs are, for the most part, strong enough that you can still enjoy them on some level. Hell, with a better sound “Manifesto” and the absolutely stunning “Discolights” could potentially be massive hits. For now, White Music For Black People is a sign of tremendous potential, and it’s probably the only album you’ll ever hear with a guest appearance by Mos Def (who sounds out of place on “Concern”) and a House Of Love cover.

Tracklisting:

1. Winter in the Summertime
2. Shallow by Shallow
3. Disco Lights
4. Fit to Be Tied
5. Dakini
6. The Color of Love Is Blue
7. Everlasting Gobbstopper
8. Black and Blue
9. Camus
10. Babytalkk
11. Manifesto
12. Concern
13. Christine