The ELO-ification of The Apples In Stereo continues apace with Travellers In Space And Time, an explosively poppy album that’s less over-the-top than 2007’s New Magnetic Wonder, though still shooting for the shiny. After opening with a crackly recording of a scientist explaining the concept of “The Code” of foolproof rhythmic expression, Travellers continues through 50 minutes of songs about the wonderful world of the future, where we’ll all dance in interstellar nightclubs with ambassadors from other worlds, while still worrying about whether our boyfriends/girlfriends/robotic-love-units are staying faithful. Apples frontman/producer Robert Schneider fills nearly every square inch of his sonic space with synthesizers, vocoders, and tinny percussion, constructing a machine-tooled indie-disco record that too often disappears too far into its own concept—as when Schneider frets over a friend who’s “out of touch with your CPU.” The Apples In Stereo have always had a tendency toward excessive cuteness, but Travellers In Space And Time sounds like it should come packed in a cartoon-festooned plastic lunchbox. Good thing for Schneider that his actual music is frequently irresistible, with songs like “Hey Elevator” and “It’s All Right” bouncing along with sentiments so chipper and melodies so memorable that the only sane response is to succumb. Maybe there’s something to that “code” after all.
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