Written on 08/04/2012 by Jacob Morrison • 1 Comment

Apparatjik: A Square Peg In A Round Hole – Review

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So is it possible to talk about Apparatjik’s latest album A Square Peg In A Round Hole without mentioning their website, which is utterly non-sensical and heavily commercial (they’ll be happy to sell you something called a Bolshevik Box for £150 without actually telling you what it is).

Should we mention that this album/cd/download/app/lp/mp3/thingy is only being reviewed now because it’s finally making a belated appearance as a physical product and that it’s been available as an ipad app since November last year? Is it even relevant that the “band” is actually made up of four humans, Guy Berryman (bassist from Coldplay), Magne Furuholmen (A-ha), Jonas Bjerre (Mew) and Martin Terefe (producer of Mary J Blige and Jamie Cullum among others) which might have made them a “Supergroup” if being in a group appeared to be what interested them. Or should we just skip all this distraction and talk about the music?

Actually, all this distraction is slightly more interesting than the music itself. For a group so preoccupied with technology their sound is remarkably dated and safe, the kind of pristine electro-pop that you’ll probably find playing at your typical web design studio. There are a few standouts. Opener ‘timepoLice’ has the kind of sequenced DX-7 bassline that makes anyone my age nostalgic for early depeche mode.


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‘tell the bAbes’ starts like Madonna’s ‘Music’ before launching into an auto-tuned Naked And Famous tribute. ‘Combat Disco Music’ sounds suspiciously like they’ve sampled Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Welcome to the pleasuredome’ and so bonus marks are awarded for sheer chutzpah. ‘Superpositions’ is an accappela introduction to quantum mechanics which thankfully finishes before the novelty wears off. ‘BlastLOCket’ must have used the same drum machine as Blue Monday and belts along quite happily, and, well, that’s it really. The rest just glides past smoothly and without undue fuss. The production is as bright and shiny as the bezel on an ipad with just about as much depth. The songs don’t engage, doubly disappointing considering that one of the members helped to create “the sun always shines on TV”, surely one of the most majestic and soaring pop moments of the eighties.


So let’s get back to the interesting stuff. They’ve invited their fans to plant trees and to send them the photos. Magne Furuholmen doesn’t appear to have aged a day. When performing live they use a specially constructed cube on to which they project their faces. They like to wear boxes on their heads. Seriously!

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One Response to Apparatjik: A Square Peg In A Round Hole – Review

  1. Claudia

    just a couple of things.
    -that you don’t know what the bolshevik box is, is your own problem.
    -the iPad release had different versions of the songs than this release and there have been about 7 different versions of the entire album in between.
    -Magne not aged a day ? seriously: get glasses !

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