I've anxiously been waiting to hear more from Apples Of Idun, as since their second album from '09 and the promotional 4-way single from 2010, there hasn't been a lot of new material oozing out to the curious listeners. Luckily all the waiting was rewarded in late 2011 in the form of this EP.
The main function of the EP is (according to the band) to generate a buzz around Apples Of Idun's upcoming third album release - or in other words, to be a tasty snack that leaves its eater hungry for more. The songs are all new compositions from the upcoming album's recording sessions, but none of them are to be featured on it in order to make the EP more of a stand-alone release as well.
So, as this is something of a teaser-release, the main question is: what seems to have changed since the Disaster Art-album. The band still plays more or less poppy rock that's merged with industrial and electronic elements. The machinery-side shines through the way the tracks have been built, and the synths being more or less prominent throughout the songs either as ambiance or as a leading or supportive melody. The synths are skilled and professional, have a personal sound, and the mixing has blessed the album with a lot of layers of sound and tasty pannings that make the songs suitable for headphone-listening as well.
The changes in AOI's music are not major ones per se, but moreso regard the band's overall sound. Apples Of Idun sounds more than ever like a real living band; tasty and powerful bass lines give the tracks their sturdy and somewhat dark undertone, the guitars take care of the songs' contrasts between lighter electronics and rawer, more rock-oriented sound, and the electronics and sharp drums tie the whole thing together. As said, the band's sound is a bit darker and heavier than earlier, but they sound warmer, more vivid and breathing as well - an actual, functioning organism. Mr. Moisio's voice might take some getting used to, but I like his emotional output and his range from clean vocals to effected and screamed ones. He gives the tracks extra charisma and dramatic qualities, and his lines aren't too predictable.
The CD is housed in a cardboard-slip with really stylish and detailed collage-artwork. They present a lot to look at and examine, and shortly said are truly praiseworthy. No lyrics are included, but you can (at least currently) read and print them from the band's bandcamp-site. The EP is available for purchase as both files and as a CD - the latter as a limited pressing, I would presume. If you want the physical CD, don't waste your time.
The EP is short, but due to the songs' variation, boldness and the quality production values providing a great amount of different layers to the soundscape, it takes quite a few spins to wear off its charm. It gives a good idea of what the album will be like, and does so without revealing too much (or not enough) detail. The songs leave little room to complain on an individual level, but they don't form a seamless unison - this is a teaser, after all - and the EP could've been a song longer. Add to that the minus points from the lack of lyrics and my personal antipathy for cardboard slip-packagings, and you'll know how eagerly I'm waiting for Apples Of Idun's next album.