What's a poor Beatles fanboy to do, 'cept to play in a rock 'n' roll band? That was the question Rob Schneider and pals faced more than a decade ago when Schneider founded the Apples in Stereo, dedicated to a snazzy synthesis of the Beatles' accomplished, psychedelicized-but-concise craft (later picked up by disciples like the Electric Light Orchestra), the sunshiney tones of the Association and the Cowsills, the Buzzcocks' irreverent punk-pop and dabs of My Bloody Valentine's surreal fuzz 'n' noise. #1 Hits collects choice songs from the band's decade-plus recording history. Sonic hallmarks include crunchy and fuzzed-out guitar; steady, snappy beats; candy-sweet, perky, la-la-la/ba-bap-ba choruses; and Schneider's earnest, reedy, ever-so-slightly sarcastic vocals. The Apples' songs are about the joys of your stereo, Stephen Colbert and the Power Puff Girls. They're nothing if not consistent, which works both for and against them: Taken whole in a single sitting, many of the songs tend to blur together. But in judicious doses, Hits is the aural counterpart to a glass of ice tea on a sweltering day. The giddy "Energy" and the ska-flavored "Go!" ooze pop smarts and sly exuberance. The wiry, trippy "Tidal Wave" tears from the speakers like Sells Out-era Who, and "Please" is the best Buzzcocks song that never was. The Apples in Stereo embody the zen of a "yeah, yeah, yeah" chorus, bless 'em. — Mark Keresman
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