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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pocket Review: "Apples & Eve" by Neulore

Nashville-based Neulore's first EP "Apples & Eve" is the sort of opening statement that most bands would kill for. It's expansive, thought-provoking, and honest, a concept album that never strays too far from the concept but which never bludgeons the listener with the message. Ostensibly a love letter from Adam to Eve, the record wanders the paths where intense love can lead: heartbreak, anger, and salvation.

The EP begins with the gorgeous "I Will Come Alone" which blossoms from a piano-based folk rock tune into shimmering waves of prog rock. Adam is alone, and the wonder of the new world he's inherited--and the constant presence of God--fill him with color and beauty and life. He is entertained but lonely.

"Eve" fades in from the last gasps of "I Will Come Alone" and proceeds to dominate the record from the first notes. It is the most maturely produced of the seven tracks, and shows how developed the band truly is. It also introduces the character which will ultimately weigh so heavily in Adam's life, his bride and co-conspirator, Eve.

From then on the record floats on alternating waves of folk and prog, detailing the travails of these star-crossed lovers as they discover love and loss, and learn the true depths of belief and betrayal, until the end when they are expelled from the garden and pass into what will become their destiny.

The final track, "Garden Gates," is beautiful, incorporating all of the loss and hope that must have accompanied this chapter in human history. Here are two people, just beginning to get their feet under them, filled to the brim with a wealth of information they don't even begin to understand, and divorced from the only father they've ever known. It's a heartbreaking image.

"Apples & Eve" is undeniably Biblical in its worldview, yet the story it tells could just as easily be any couple who take on the long journey that is marriage. With every relationship there comes that point of discovery, when you realize exactly what you've gotten yourself into whether for good or bad. Not every man's wife gives him an apple that obliterates their collective lives, but every marriage will encounter a deceased parent or child, or a car accident, or drug-habit, or money problems, and it is what one does with those apples, no matter how tempting or dangerous, that determine the worth of the relationship. Adam chose to stay with Eve. He didn't throw her under the bus. He took responsibility for the part he played in their fall, and in the end they populated a world together

That's what makes the ending of this record so brilliant, that amidst all the heartbreak there is hope too. If the rib was part of God's plan, then so too was the apple, and whatever faithlessness Adam and Eve showed to God, they never forsook each other. And that is something worth celebrating.