Australian indie-rock duo Little May have undergone a significant change since their 2015 album For The Company. With the departure of the then trio’s bassist Annie Hamilton, their sound has transformed from slow and powerfully emotive rock, influenced by The National, to a new sound of fizzy production, shimmery guitars and thumping drums. Ahead of their second album, Blame My Body out May 3, they have released ‘Apples’, an explosive single that epitomises this new sound.
The track is noticeably more upbeat and energetic than past releases, with a faster tempo and busier instrumentation. Manoeuvring away from their folk roots, the quick drums and dynamic bass place more emphasis on rhythm than previous tracks. This has the effect of allowing Little May to do more with the track. The distorted second guitar layered over a cleaner and brighter guitar melody mixes together with the energetic rhythm and bass section to create a more exciting instrumental arrangement, particularly in the chorus. However, while the instrumentation creates a pulsating and bright atmosphere, the vocal line and lyrics continue Little May’s iconic melancholy and emotion. Liz Drummond’s distant and relaxed vocal performance echoes over the subtle synth work, drawing the listener in to the cryptic lyrics. The vocals and instruments crescendo until the music explodes in the chorus and the vocal harmonies come in. The repetition of the mysterious line “I'm running out of apples, can you give me some?” is catchy but also strange. It’s this quirky mix of happy instrumentation and forlorn lyrics that help create a strong new tone. This dichotomy gives Little May a new and unique sense of character.
The best way to describe this new character and identity beyond the music can be seen in the accompanying film clip. It is colourful and fun, but also reflects some of the deeply personal issues and challenges that Little May are opening up about.