Q - 6/97, p.1393 Stars (out of 5)
- "...[Bill] Callahan lures you in, only to break you on the rocks of his seemingly inescapable depression. Another field day then, for fans of weepy minimalism."
Option - 7-8/97, p.128
"...[Leader Bill Callahan] has decisively freed Smog from the clutch of lo-fi and introduced it to the mature world of fine-tuned fidelity....all the unabashed musicality of a deliberately well-produced album."
Smog: Bill Callahan (vocals, guitar, piano, Hammond B-3 organ, synthesizer).
Additional personnel: Ken Champion (pedal steel guitar); Thymme Jones (trumpet, piano, drums); Donna Maroni (French horn); James O'Rourke (hurdy gurdy, piano, Hammond B-3 organ, bass, drums); Matt Weston, Robot (drums).
Recorded from October 30 to November 3, 1996.
Personnel: Bill Callahan (vocals, guitar, piano, synthesizer); Jim O'Rourke (hurdy-gurdy, piano, organ, drums); Robot (drums).
Recording information: 10/30/1996-11/03/1996.
Like WILD LOVE and KNOCK KNOCK, RED APPLE FALLS represents the more elaborate side of Bill Callahan's discography. His outsider/loser image is still perfectly intact, but it is shaped here with a more expansive sonic palette. Everything from French horn and pedal steel to hurdy gurdy is employed on these unassumingly poetic tales of self-loathing. There's a larger cast than usual at work here, and the denser musical texture may be the reason Callahan's lyrical self-deprecation seems more like an artistic device than a desperate cry in the wilderness. The use of more natural, organic imagery in the songs, however, adds an extra level of depth to the subtle, carefully constructed lyrics.