Apollo Up! - Chariots of Fire (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Apollo Up!

Chariots of Fire (2006)

Theory 8

At a glance, Apollo Up! has all the touchstones of yet another forgettable pop-punk/rock act: youthful members, well-coifed hair and unecessary punctuation in the band name. Yet the album manages to assuage all doubters in the first few moments of Chariots of Fire, an album which manages to combine muscular, kinetic Dischord post-punk with solidly written melodies and certifiably catchy hooks.

While many bands worshipping at the alter of Jawbox end up with oddly disappasionate vocals, front-man Jay Leo Phillips injects the sound with a healthy dose of energetic, mature sounding vocals akin to the major label-era of Shades Apart; the band continues to impress with a reverence to rhythm, with both bassist Mike Shepard and drummer Jereme Frey providing a strong low end to accompany Phillips lower range.

Tracks like "No Song" and "Walking the Plank" take a nicely heavy approach with the drums and bass high in the mix and the guitars sounding pleasingly raw; "Cut Up" adds horns to the mix, with a clear heritage to Rocket from the Crypt's ska-free use of the same; closer "Plans" takes from the Police's Andy Summers with a chunky, but clean guitar accompaniment before venturing into the Jam's territory for the chorus.

A strong sophomore album from a promising band.