Apple of my Eye continue their ascent into the alt folk world with the release of their new studio album The Beast Below on 19 September. To mark the announcement FRUK has the pleasure in premiering the video for the album’s opening title track…a vignette of a nameless and timeless fishing vessel being torn apart by a squid-monster of impossible proportions. The sweet harmonies of violin and cello are washed away with a rousing, defiant chorus as the hapless crew vow to ‘not go down without a fight’. It’s a barnstorming introduction to the group’s evolved sound and storytelling that seeks joy in misfortune and tragedy.
Originally from Bristol, the band formed in London in 2011 over a love of collaborative songwriting, harmony, storytelling and cider. They have since evolved into uproarious troubadours of London’s modern folk scene making music both joyous and dark.
The new album’s twelve distinct tracks tell twelve distinct stories — some sad, some light–hearted and some riotous. The recurring theme of small characters facing insurmountable odds and occasionally surviving forms the narrative backbone of the album.
The group’s evolving style sees increasingly lush and beautiful arrangements. Powerful strings swell over interweaving melodies on guitar, mandolin, harmonica and bouzouki. Voices overlap and echo creating layers of rich cadences. Both lyrical imagery and sound tap into a refreshingly complex and dark vein of the genre’s traditions.
The album was recorded in two days at London’s iconic Snap! Studios. Producer Joe Leach took a bold approach, paring the technology back to record the band live, standing in a circle around two microphones. It is a startling and transportive sound. You hear the energy and the communication between the musicians in the recording.
Leach says “With a recording like that, the pressure is on. Every aspect that you hear in the end result is true to what happened at the time. A band like Apples, with seven–piece instruments and vocals, has a hell of a lot that has to go right before it can begin sounding like a release. The recording required a herculean amount of stamina and focus. Small errors could render whole takes unviable. But this focus is what concentrates the energy on this album, capturing as faithfully as I think possible, the deftness, and imagination this band can convey, whilst showcasing their undeniable musical prowess.”
London venues they have played include the Union Chapel, Cecil Sharp House, Green Note, Jamboree and Woodburner. They are fast becoming regular highlights of the folk festivals including Secret Garden, Wilderness and headline slots at Stainsby and Exile festivals.
Apple of my Eye are:
Phil Cornwell (double bass) works in London’s West End where he has been the musical director of several acclaimed shows. He brings his in depth knowledge of orchestration and vocal harmonies on the band’s arrangements.
Arran Glass (guitar and lead vocals) has a background in acting, storytelling and puppetry. He composes for theatre and regularly performs at Little Angel Theatre in London.
Kit Massey (violin) is a fourth generation musician. He is a newly appointed lecturer in musicianship at Trinity Laban.
Jo Silverston (cello) has played with The Unthanks, Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo and most recently Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker. A longtime friend of the band, she has recently joined the Apples as a permanent member.
Alex Scott (guitar and mandolin) is a talented multi–instrumentalist who also works in theatre both as a composer and performer.
Chris Rusbridge (bouzouki and lead vocals) comes from a family well versed in folk tradition. His parents are both musicians who met in a folk club in the 60s and still perform with their trio Thornbridge. Chris knew over 200 songs by heart by the age of four.
Dan Rusbridge (harmonica and violin) is Chris’s brother and taught himself harmonica through watching videos online, practicing until his mouth bled.
Following the self-released Devils (2012) and Seven Tides (2014) The Beast Below is the group’s third album. It builds upon their accomplished musical and story–weaving skills, expressing the heights and depths of its characters’ lives with their unique folk arrangements. We’ll be featuring more soon, in the meantime you can find them here:
More here: www.applesinlondon.com