Apollo Sunshine throws an eclectic party, one that’s part ’60s feel-good vibe, part jam band noodling, and parts rock’n’roll, rockabilly, country, and funk. Not surprisingly, the band owes half of its name to a Greek god whose responsibilities are similarly wide-ranging: prophecy, sunlight, music, and healing.
Originally started as a trio of three Berklee College of Music undergrads — Jesse Gallagher, Sam Cohen, and Jeremy Black — Apollo Sunshine became a quartet when Sean Aylward was added on guitar. To this day the Berklee connection remains strong: The band’s self-titled sophomore release is a joint effort between spinART (who released 2003’s Katonah) and the school’s student-run record label, Heavy Rotation.
Content matches form in the most unexpected of ways on Apollo Sunshine — “Phony Marony” is awfully upbeat and catchy for a song that proclaims “Just do the phony marony / to fake me out of this coma / to put me back in the zone-a.” Similarly, “Phone Sex” becomes a melodic love confession in which “I wish my eyes and my mind would decide that I am blind / So I can hear my heart tell me how I feel” is sung in sweet harmony. “Today Is the Day” is reminiscent of a Stray Cat strut, “A Finger Pointing at the Moon” has a catchy country twang to it, and “Phyliss” explodes into a powerful jam where fuzz pedals abound. Even in the smallest details, the boys of Apollo Sunshine seem innately concerned with big smiles: What other band’s official site would refer you to their bright pink MySpace page, complete with a photo shoot whose guest star is an armless mannequin?
Apollo Sunshine tour dates:
9/16, Philadelphia, PA (North Star Bar) 9/17, New York, NY (Mercury Lounge) 9/30, Andover, MA (Andover Town Hall)