Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
Even among the cutting edge early electronic rock acts of the late 60's, the Silver Apples were an anomaly. Bands like The United States Of America, The White Noise, and Fifty Foot Hose (all of who should eventually appear on this site) tended to perform more traditional songs, albeit with electronic instrumentation, juxtaposed with wild electronic weirdness. Silver Apples had a more consistent, unified, and droning sound. They're always at their strangest.
The band is only a duo, with hugely underrated drummer Danny Taylor provided complicated, organic beats while his partner Simeon supplies the vocals, electronic bass lines, and wailing oscillations from his namesake instrument. Yes, Simeon plays the "Simeon," a series of custom made oscillators which provide for most of the overt freakiness here.
"Oscillations" is a fine introduction to the band with it's pulsing beat and echoing, alien tones. This band's ace in the hole was the ability to actually write catchy songs, even if they were dresses in interstellar clothing, and "Oscillations" will stick in your head like glue.
Truth be told, there isn't a ton of variation in the Silver Apples sound (it is a duo after all), but no one else has ever sounded like this, so they certainly could deliver for two albums in the 60's. There are some minor touches to distinguish the song, such as flute in "Seagreen Serenades," and found sound in "Program."
As odd as it is, most of the songs here really are pop songs mutated into something sounding like it was beamed from Neptune. The band only attempts epic, chanting mode on "Dancing Gods," and it's probably my least favorite track on the album.
Even beyond the songs, this is very worth hearing as the source for plenty of influence. Suicide would later borrow this band's droning electronic pulse, while modern analog disciples such as Stereolab have to count this among their influences. Silver Apples don't quite have the punch of a Velvet Underground, but they inarguably have earned "groundbreaking" status.
Silver Apples - 1968 - Silver Apples