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Flashback Review: Mother Love Bone’s Apple (1990)

Mother Love Bone’s moment in the sun was brief, but they shined brightly.

51g8q88bm1lMother Love Bone was a Seattle based rock band that came onto the scene back in 1987. Consisting of ex-Green River members, Jeff Ament, Bruce Fairweather, and Stone Gossard, ex-Malfunkshun frontman, Andrew Wood, and ex-Skin Yard drummer, Greg Gilmore, the band enjoyed much success until their career’s untimely end in 1990.

Wood took on the roll as Mother Love Bone’s frontman, and was said to be extremely charismatic, so much so that it’s widely believed that his charm played a large part in propelling the band to the very top of the Seattle music scene. In an unfortunate turn of events, Wood passed away just days before the release of the band’s debut album, Apple.

Apple was officially released a few months after Wood’s death, and remains a heartbreaking reminder of what could have been. Still, despite the sadness surrounding the album, it is undeniably a great piece of work.

“This Is Shangrila” rolls in with some semi-unsettling distortion that keeps listeners on their toes. The short intro ambience lasts for only a moment before the kicking in full-force with a shot of good old rock n’roll. The perfect track to open the album on, “This Is Shangrila” is fun, energetic, and amazingly catchy with some seriously impressive guitar work. Music is the name of the game, and this track is all about life on the stage. It feels genuine, in the sense that the members of Mother Love Bone truly wouldn’t rather be doing anything else, and that passion for their art shines through.

“Bone China” has a mellow vibe to it with something a little darker hiding just beneath the surface. The lyrics are shrouded in metaphor and, at first glance, appear to be about a woman. However, looking close enough it becomes apparent that the song is about heroin. The term “bone china” is actually slang for the illicit drug. With the dazed sound of the melody, it all just makes sense.

“Capricorn Sister” is an underrated track that’s got such great energy to it, it’s sure to become a fast favorite. A solid rhythm, shredding guitar, and a beat that gets the heart thumping make it hard to not move along.

When Apple was first released, “Chloe Dancer” and “Crown Of Thorns” were put together as one piece, and it was amazing. This was changed during subsequent versions, for whatever reason, and “Chloe Dancer” was pulled from the album completely.

However, together the two songs are absolute magic, and should definitely be experienced as such. There’s so much emotion packed into the eight minute track, with such vivid lyrics, and clear instrumentals that reach into the soul, it would be a shame to not listen to this track at least once.

Apple is the beginning of what could have been an amazing career for Mother Love Bone. With such a great sound, and am abundance of personality, it’s hard not to appreciate this album for everything it is.

Rating: 5/5

Stream: Apple by Mother Bone Love

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