Published Apr 24, 2010On their first album, last year's Hastings Sunrise, Vancouver, BC trio Apollo Ghosts paid tribute to Asian-Canadian culture, delving into the immigrant experience and drawing on their travels around the Pacific Rim. Mount Benson shifts the focus to Nanaimo, BC, name-dropping landmarks like Witchcraft Lake and Wakesiah Avenue, and evoking singer Adrian Teacher's childhood years spent growing up in the coastal city. Although the subject matter has changed, the band's sound is much the same. The album's 13 tracks run just 25 minutes, ranging from sloppy punk ("Attaquez! Attaquez! Attaquez!") to new wave dance rock ("Samurai Chatter") and even a slow-building piano ballad ("Snow on Mount Benson"). Best of all is straightforward jangle pop single "Things You Go Through," which features references to water fights and first love that are bound to arouse childhood memories in almost anyone. And even if the lyrics don't hit home, you still won't be able to resist shouting along to the song's mammoth-sized hook. Apollo Ghosts' intensely regional lyrics and modest touring schedule suggest that they have little interest in becoming anything other than a local secret. If they keep putting out albums as good as Mount Benson, however, people are bound to start catching on.
How does Mount Benson differ from your last LP, Hastings Sunrise?
Teacher: There are more F-bombs on this record. There's more French. There's more cryptozoology. It's shorter by two minutes.
Do you actually believe in Sasquatch, as you claim to on "Samurai Chatter"?
That song was written for our friend Brent. He goes hunting for Sasquatch on the Nanaimo River. He has a big beard and he looks for prints in the mud. He follows sightings on the internet. He's on the lookout and he found a print when he was gold panning.
Why do you write so many short songs?
The initial idea was just to use it as a songwriting tool to break free from having trouble writing songs that are longer than two minutes or so. And then it kind of stuck. We feel like we can write faster; it's just the way they come out, I guess. And there are so many great short songs. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" is a 2:25 song. Or the guy that just died, Alex Chilton; his big hit with the Box Tops, "The Letter," was number one in 1967 and it was a minute and 56 seconds. Why not? Roy Orbison: two-minute songs. (Independent)