Following their well received The Open Songbook 7” for Ghost Box’s sought-after Study Series, Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle) and Tim Felton (formerly of Broadcast and Seeland) unite once again as Hintermass for their most substantial offering to date with debut LP The Apple Tree. Whilst the piece is primarily a pop record, the fact that both members of the group have firm groundings as talented multi-instrumentalists allows a vast array of colour and texture throughout, building an alluring, psychedelic sound through electronics, left-of-centre percussion and fanciful acoustic instruments, all topped with Felton’s warm, comforting vocal.
Opening up, the duo whirl us through the playful title track, before the warm instrumental ‘The Rituals Of Reversal’ takes over, bewitching us with its radiant energy and Indian tabla drums. The seamless fusion of psychedelia and folk continues with ‘While Away’, which demonstrates the adept production talents of Brooks, yet it's the carefully positioned outer-planetary instrumental skits that intersplice the album’s more traditionally structured pieces that add to the overall ethereal aesthetic, such as the soft, new-age arpeggios of ‘Rain For A While’ or the more cosmic ‘Electric Element’. With the pair reportedly inspired by the kosmische krautrock styles of Ash-Ra Temple and Popol Vuh, the beauty of the The Apple Tree is its masterful distillation the same experimental ethos into a more approachable pop-orientated mould that’s ripe for the warmer months ahead.