(SpinART/Elephant 6/Sire, 1998)
“Man You Gotta Get Up” (b/w “The Golden Flower”) isn’t really a single; it was included as a bonus 45 in the vinyl pressing of the Apples in Stereo’s Tone Soul Evolution album. Generous. But we can still take a moment to pan the thing, because this is a pretty flaccid slab o’ wax. Plopped front-and-center, Schneider’s thin, nasal voice simply isn’t strong enough or compelling enough to carry these songs, and there isn’t the punchy, reckless pop energy of the earliest singles. Shiny-sounding and crafted, it’s almost like a – dare I say it – psychedelecized Weezer, fer cryin’ out loud. The dirty guitar that snarls in the choruses of “Man You Gotta Get Up” is encouraging, but neither tune really offers much of interest beyond the occasional instrumental trick. Honestly, if these mediocrities truly had to be released, a bonus single was the right outlet and should set the proper expectations for the listener. Instead of hunting this disc down, just sit around and wait for the inevitable rarities comp.
Trivia fun! Tone Soul Evolution was the only Elephant 6 record to be released under the auspices of a major label. The next time you’re at a party, pull THAT one outta your cap and you'll be the champion of conversation, newly nicknamed Mr. Popular. I promise.