Love and Desperation

Sweet Apple

Want to have it both ways? I’m not referring to both of the under-dressed babes on the cover. That’s borderline exploitation that harkens back to Roxy Music’s Country Life … but without Roxy’s subtext about glamour’s inevitable dark side. Sweet Apple just wants its debut noticed by its testosterone-heavy target audience. With biggest name J. Mascis on drums, except when he wants to punch up the guitar solos, this foursome of veteran alt-rockers coalesced in the wake of personal loss and existential crisis by singer John Petkovic. The dozen quick tracks here touch upon a rocker’s questions about permanency — but it’s a light touch, difficult to discern amid a heavy style not much different from what was tried and tested a quarter-century ago. Fortunately, there are instrumental jolts of blink-quick innovation interspersed in the energetic near-metal, justifying the set as a road-trip soundtrack. Imagine Foo Fighters looking to become the next Bad Company — but this lineup’s got a depth of talent to redeem the backward-looking approach, even when they bid an almost-slick “Goodnight.”