Rock and roll is always funniest when it's not trying to be. The problem with Apollo Sunshine's self-titled sophomore album is that, instead of letting the laughs fall where they may, it attempts to pry grins out of your face with a crowbar. Not that these dozen songs aren't tunefully pleasant instruments of torture. As virtuosic and dizzyingly clever as Todd Rundgren or Ween, the Boston-based quartet jogs across genres without breaking a sweat, trampling together folk, pop, classic rock and psychedelia. But Dr. Demento himself might have a hard time loving Apollo Sunshine's forced and hollow humor. The disc's few bungled bids at cosmos-searching seriousness -- "God," "Lord," you get the picture -- come across as frat-level bouts of bong dependence, especially when juxtaposed with lines like "I gotta get paid! To get baked! Or get fucked!" Even funny bones have their breaking point -- and Apollo Sunshine just hit it.
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