Apollo Run: Of War And Circuses

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Friday's Pick

  • Song: "Land Land Land"
  • Artist: Apollo Run
  • CD: Make It Go Boom
  • Genre: Rock
Apollo Run 300

Apollo Run's "Land Land Land" is part geopolitical commentary, part story of personal salvation. courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption courtesy of the artist

John McGrew wrote Apollo Run's song "Land Land Land" with a circus ringleader in mind, which explains the track's soaring, brassy intro and its foreboding greeting: "Welcome, my son, to the rocket race / Welcome, my boy, to the thrill of the chase." Oh, and McGrew says he was staring at a map of the Middle East at the time, which explains the song's overtones of war and nervous build-up. Part geopolitical commentary, part story of personal salvation, the song climaxes about halfway through — "Make it go boom / Sha la la la / Now light up that wick and then run, run away" — before giving way to a bout of crashing, chaotic instrumentation, representing both destruction and release.

Zach Condon's band Beirut is an obvious influence. Like Condon, McGrew is a multi-instrumentalist who hops genres and styles easily, with a talent for quickly jelling melodies. An Ohio native now based in Brooklyn, he sings and plays trumpet and piano in "Land Land Land," from Apollo Run's independently released 2008 EP Make It Go Boom. The group merits far more widespread attention than it's received thus far; how many others can fashion compelling entertainment out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

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