Apple Review - RevelationZ Magazine
Written by Micheal
Seattle based Mother Love Bone was among the forerunners of the Grunge wave. The band included guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament, who after the tragic death of singer Andrew Wood formed Pearl Jam.
This is not a grunge CD, but rather a blend between 70's rock and Hard Rock spiced with Mother Love Bone's love for emotional songs. "Apple" is probably the transition record between the 80's Hard Rock popular at the time and the grunge wave soon to take over. Andrew Wood's vocal also has more in common with 80's Glam Rock singers than Eddie Vedder and his followers.
Mother Love Bone caused a huge interest with their six track EP "Shine". Soon the full length album "Apple" followed and just when "Apple" was due for release in March 1990 Wood's tragic death from a heroin overdose caused the band to disband.
The album has a really cool vintage 1970's rock sound to it with Andrew Wood's characteristic voice always in center. Andrew Wood really was an up-coming star that could have been among the greatest. His light vocals really spellbound the listener into an emotional mood on the gentle Man of Golden Words. Wood's vocals uplift the song to a higher level even with the sparse arrangement of acoustic guitar and piano only.
The guitar work of Stone Gossard and Bruce Fairweather is brilliant. The guitar duo complement each other really well and shines on Stardog Champion, Capricorn Sister and even on "Apple's" only average track Mr. Danny Boy. Especially Stardog Champion ranks among my favorites on the disc. The song is alternate with a fantastic piece where the song changes pace before the solo. The addition of a children's choir makes the ending very bombastic. Crown of Thorns has a similar structure and is another fantastic song off the album.
Capricorn Sister really kicks ass and you truly sense a kind of magic in the music - also exemplified on the groovy Heartshine, which has a brilliant melodic chorus.
What makes "Apple" an over the top album is the record's substantial ballads. The already mentioned Man of Golden Words and the beautiful Bone China are definitely among the best songs, since Wood's voice holds so much emotion. Stargazer is my personal favorite, because it oozes so much emotion. The bridge is so fantastic and just puts another thick layer of passion into the song. Everything really falls into place on Stargazer, where the harmonies and melodic chorus is the icing on the cake. Another fantastic ballad is Gentle Groove, where the piano is very dominating in the mix. Gentle Groove again displays Mother Love Bone's unique ability to write a no-frills song that really gets to the listener.
Wood's vocals are very up-front throughout the whole record, which is provided with a great sound by Terry Date. This version of "Apple" is released on Lemon Recordings and contains the original artwork and the album tracks in a digitally remastered version. The trippy blues track Lady Godiva Blues has been added as a bonus track. The album has been deleted for almost 12 years and therefore a welcomed re-release.
The world will never know the potential of Mother Love Bone, but considering this is a debut record only the sky was the limit. Today the songs still sound timeless and "Apple" is a real strong testimony to the late Andrew Wood.
The music of Mother Love Bone lives on. In memory of Andrew Wood
~ RevelationZ Magazine