Label: Lazy Acre Release date: 18/10/10 Website: Myspace Two things stand out about this release from Norwegian darlings Monzano; the music, and the way in which it’s being released. Apple Handsome collates the pick of the bands previous two albums (High Horses and One Trick Ponies and this years By this time last year everything will seem younger) along with two new and unreleased tracks. Furthermore as part of Lazy Acre’s Full Stop To Bad Pop campaign, two versions of the EP will be available; a free download featuring 6 tracks and printable artwork, and a ‘you name the price’ download where even the tiniest donation will provide downloaders with a host of bonuses including the video for the new single Yes We Cant. How about that? The band themselves are many times harder to adequately summate. In fact, they leave me a little short for words; there is something intangible about this EP that makes my skin tingle. Monzano make evocative, melodic music with an unmistakably Scandinavian radiance, and Apple Handsome is, as above, pretty much a mini-best of. So know that these eight songs are all equally gorgeous and likely to reduce you to a love-struck dreamer gazing at the stars. Opening track ‘Yes, We Can’t’ seems at first listen destined to be a clear stand-out track with it’s instantly lovable vocal melody and the organ, guitar and rumbling bass it’s layered over gently urging it on. ‘Cold Waters’ gives it a run for its money though, the slightly tense harmonics and bass of the intro dissolving blissfully into a perfect pop chorus of gentle but complex layers. Each track thereafter proves with renewed poignancy that this EP is brilliantly consistent. Each song conjures a new landscape, a new feeling, a new kind of smile. Perhaps because it doesn’t overreach itself or mess around with tried-and-tested instrumentation that so much effort (or just innate talent) has gone into honing the interplay of harmony and melody. It's obvious why 'Poster Boy' became such a hit in Japan; the pop melody is faultless and the rhythmic interplay of guitars is beguiling if a little twee. Most every aspect of this release is utterly heartfelt, the tracks herein all spark with an energy that can only emerge when the individuals involved are absolutely attuned to one another's wavelength. It’s an unusual EP in the sense that it’s a mini-best of but a more appropriate description I should think is that it’s the perfect starting place to get acquainted with Monzano. You get the sense that, despite being pretty damn well established, they’d love to have you on board.