Album review: All In - Apollo Junction
Updated: Nov 12
A riotous, catchy and all-round phenomenal second album for the Leeds band
Photo by Steve Riding
What a year it's been for Apollo Junction.
Emerging from the lockdown wilderness with a raft of new tracks, along with opening the Big Top at the Isle of Wight Festival, airplay from the likes of the BBC and Radio X as well as regularly being heard at their beloved Elland Road, a major support slot for Kaiser Chiefs, this sparkly new album and a tour including their biggest headline show to date fast approaching, you'd think these guys would take some time to rest. Far from resting on their laurels, though, they maintain an active social media prescence, chatting to their fans and keeping the hype levels high, as well as holding down full time jobs and surviving on next to no sleep.
The band themselves admit to being humbled by the love their album has received;
"We're just lads from Leeds making music...never thought it would get this far, to be honest"
and yet, here we are, mere hours away from release day, standing on the edge of glory in sweet anticipation, with more than a little love for the boys and a whole heap of respect for the sheer amount of product the Shedload team have shifted in the past few days to make sure we've got the goodies by Friday. Speaking of which...
All in is the hotly anticipated second album from the Leeds fivesome, and one which they're intensely proud of. Opening with the powerful, glam rock-tinged Light Up The Sky, All In captures the vibrancy, talent and creativity of the band, with the euphoric, Britpop melodies of Porcelain leading into the sure-fire gig closer that is most recent release Two Car Family.
What follows next is nothing short of genius. Rooftops is a glorious melange of '80s and '90s influences in classic AJ style, building from John Squire-esque jangles to an anthemic chorus reminiscent of arena-filling megabands (I'd name the main one, but I can't frigging stand Bono). It's powerful and beautiful, and it got played a LOT during the drafting of this review. Sublime.
On The Ropes takes us down an altogether darker path. Released through lockdown, the deeper, more intense tone captures the mood perfectly with undertones of The Cult and powerful, almost staccato delivery. Respite soon comes in the form of the summery When We Were Young and earliest release (I think!) Sometimes, both redolent with that trademark Apollo Junction energy.
Unknowns, for me, is the standout track of All In - a title held by Porcelain for all of 15 minutes. One listen to this and that was it, I was hooked. Unknowns is top notch, in your face, full on party mode, from the retro synth and boppy melodies to a bouncy bassline and a singalong chorus that's going to live in your head rent free. Outstanding.
So how the hell do you follow that?
Easy. Borderlines, with its brooding, powerful darkness, backed up by firm crowd favourite Forever (a.k.a. the one that's likely to take the roof off The Warehouse in a couple of weeks). Rounding off the album in characteristic AJ style, Are You Happy is one to sway along to as you take stock of what's just happened to your ears over the past half hour.
Hold up, though, we're not done yet...
Hailing back to the hidden tracks of '90s albums, Our Goodbye is a heartfelt, poignant closer and a lovely thank you for the fans the band value so highly. Who doesn't love an easter egg?
All In really does mean All In here, the lads have ploughed everything they've got into this album - all their influences, every drop of talent, blood, sweat, tears and likely every penny to their name - and I can honestly say it's been worth it. Far from being the Difficult Second Album, this is their triumph, their evolution...their (Gallagher-less) Morning Glory.
I love it. I love them. And I hope you do too.
All In is released on Friday 12th November. Get your copy, along with all kinds of funky merch, here https://www.shedloadrecords.co.uk/apollo-junctionstore