A year is a long time in music – especially if you have been locked down and unable to gig and promote yourself.
What if you had just issued your debut album and were starting to make some headway in the choppy indie waters, trying to bring your electro pop fussed bangers to the world?
What do you do?
Well, you just carry on regardless and record a new album and keep your momentum going, up your social media presence, make more friends with your interactions and regular releases of new tunes to entice and enthral. This is Apollos Junctions master stroke – they never went away they used what was available to them to keep the interest piqued.
And now they are ready to go again and are releasing their second album to an eager audience that has continued to grow and be part of the bands journey from humble Leeds beginnings too soon to be stadium filling behemoths. We are All In as the album title suggests.
And what about this album then?
All In is one of those albums you need right now, released at a time when life is kind of getting back to normal (or the new normal) and gigs are happening. It’s filled with love, joy and hope compacted into 11 (maybe 12) songs that make you dream of the summer to come, so you can blast the likes of Light up the sky, On the ropes and Borderlines from your speakers as you drive to another festival or event that the boys are going to be playing at.
Yes, it is filled with many singles, Two car family especially is the kind of different pop song that makes Parklife so great, it’s an obvious pop album in many ways but like Supergrass or Franz Ferdinand before them – it has incredibly catchy hooks and choruses and it’s going for the charts, it dreams of success and why not! If The Lathums and The Snuts can do it, surely the Junctions can as well. They along with Red Rum Club are the next taxi off the rank to make the great leap up the Top 40. Comparisons to RRC is accurate, two bands that are both hard working, approachable and have the songs to match, building up a loyal following that wants them to succeed.
For the me the whole album is built around their two best songs to date – When We Grow Up is a tune that rekindles that love of being young with the joy and innocence of youth. It deserves its place alongside songs of a similar vein written by Oasis/Suede and The Undertones. The video if you haven’t seen it, is a montage of family, friends and fans coming together to perform for the camera, it is a real treat.
The star of the album though is Sometimes, a song that was the first I’d heard last year and made me sit up and take notice. Built around a guitar riff that is peak Edge from Zooropa/Discotheque era U2, with a New Order bass line and more attitude than Kasabian it’s got everything to fill stadiums. In my head I have the perfect remix ala Oakenfold that takes it to the dancefloors and clubs as well.
However what AJ have done with this album is show that they are a band that means business, and the best thing about it, is that you know this is nowhere near their peak of what they are capable of. Similar to how bands such as Manic Street Preachers, Elbow, The Charlatans, Shed 7 and even U2 were allowed time to develop and get better and better – AJ are treading a similar path, they have built a trust with their fans where we are all on board and All In with where they want to go.
And where they go, I’m sure will eventually lead to a little farm down in the west country, probably Saturday night under the big lights and speakers.
I wouldn’t bet against them.
All In is released on the 12th of November and available on all streaming sites – but screw that – go and buy a physical copy available from their own website or other independent record shops.
Peace and Love