J Mascis has always been happy to lend his drumming skills to whatever random band catches his fancy; after all, he started out as a drummer before forming Dinosaur Jr., and his occasional percussive contributions to that group’s albums show he’s as much of a monster behind the kit as he is with a guitar. Few of these projects, though, feel more random than Sweet Apple. A collaboration with singer-guitarist John Petkovic and guitarist Tim Parnin of Cobra Verde, Sweet Apple’s debut, Love And Desperation, isn’t half as passionate as the title suggests: While the disc is fluent in pre-’80s rock history and the phonology of the riff, it’s about as dazzling as, well, a Cobra Verde album. In fact, Love And Desperation sounds exactly like Cobra Verde, which is understandable, if not exactly excusable. On tracks such as the stomping “Flying Up A Mountain,” Petkovic sounds like his typically haggard, hookless self, and not even Mascis’ ill-fitting, overpowering harmonies can sufficiently bury the dull workmanship of “I’ve Got A Feeling (That Won’t Change).” There’s plenty of sinew to Sweet Apple, and the band’s energy and sense of fuck-it-all fun is undeniable. As for the songs… Well, the drumming is really good.