I’m going to call it early – this record is lovely to listen to, very polished it is compiled to join you on a sunny Sunday afternoon accompanied by Pimm’s. It is the third self-titled album from Nashville six-piece The Apache Relay and brings a more indie/acoustic feel to this folk sextet.
Track by track tales of carnage, turmoil and personal struggle are laid bare as lead singer Michael Ford Jr displays an innate understanding of pitch, tone and pace importance when dictating such tales. Good as Gold has the steady lick of a guitar set the scene for the classic make it or break it tune. The beat here has you focused on the lyrics, demonstrating experience in song architecture; however this track presents an empty closing. With such sincere focus on the storytelling we could have been drawn further, taken deeper – the chorus almost dominates too much. One point of curiosity, is this track continuing the narrative of our Katie Queen of Tennessee?
Track one and the first single released, Katie Queen of Tennessee was the first to be recorded and as Ford Jr told Rolling Stones it “…ended up dictating where the rest of the record went”. Opening with voracious strings they go on to form the basis of the tone, while this track exemplifies the pleasant compilation of pace and harmony Ford Jr embraces. Third track, Terrible Feeling is a relatable and very emotional tune. A heavy-hearted piano coexists with an anecdote about personal demise and unraveling. This is one of the top tracks, a nice delicate sound from the band’s acoustic routes and sound proof of their musical talents.
Growing Pains is a rainy day tune with a good volume of simple sounds contributing to the overall mood. Simplicity at its best, once again Ford Jr demonstrates an excellent vocal grade. When moving through this record the mood is consistent, the song transition is professional – as mentioned it’s a sharp production. What is missing is the more frequent variation to the timbre of the record-sound, some tracks literally get lost. Ironic in title, Forest for the Trees is an example of a song that could suffer this fate. Aside from this observation The Apache Relay have truly delivered a relaxing but deep narrative to enjoy in your more sombre moods, who would complain about that!