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Joel Gion, Apple Bonkers

Brian Jonestown Massacre Member Goes Solo

The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s (BJM) resident tambourine man Joel Gion gets his groove on with a multifaceted solo album that attempts to transcend space and time. The epic odyssey that is Apple Bonkers begins with the gorgeously hypnopompic “Yes.” This synesthesia-inducing song, with its lyrics of “Colors yet to be found / Compound into just one sound,” is pretty much the bastard love child of the Beatles’s “Baby, You’re a Rich Man” and Love’s “She Comes in Colors.” By contrast, the pleasant “Smile” finds Gion gliding into the Byrd’s jangly territory with its echoes of “So You Want to Be a Rock ’n’ Roll Star.” The beautiful ballad “Change My Mind” finds Gion dueting with Miranda Lee Richards — à la Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra yet tinted with a lovely Moody Blues–esque patina. Further on, the zeitgeist of the late ’70s/early ’80s is fêted as “Mirage” evokes Echo & the Bunnymen, and “Radio Silence” is the singer’s tip of the hat to Joy Division. The contributions from BJM comrades Jeff Davies, Matt Hollywood, Dan Allaire, Rob Campanella, and Collin Hegna — as well as Peter Holmström of the Dandy Warhols — keep the album synergistic. Overall, Gion’s insouciant vocal delivery and nostalgia for the golden ages of both the psych-rock and post-punk eras render Apple Bonkers a ride through in search of unknown pleasures while gleaning glimpses of future-past.

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