Apollo LTD's alternative-pop anthems blur the horizon between organic music and electronic soundscapes. It's an otherworldly sound with a human core -- a cinematic mix of airy synthesizes, deep-seated grooves, and larger-than-life hooks that target the head as well as the heart.
Naming their duo after the NASA program that sent the world's first astronauts to the Moon, bandmates Jordan Phillips and Adam Stark launched Apollo LTD into orbit in 2015. Their full-length debut, Out of Body, followed in 2019, earning the songwriters their first Top 40 hit (with the electro-pop single "Gold") and racking up a Dove Awards nomination for Best Rock Album. By the time the awards ceremony rolled around in October 2020, though, Jordan and Adam found themselves stuck at home in Nashville, kept indoors by a worldwide pandemic that had turned everyday life upside down.
Much of Apollo LTD's second album, Nothing is Ordinary. Everything is Beautiful, was created during those strange months in isolation. While the rest of the world slowed down to a cautious crawl, Jordan and Adam remained busy, collaborating on new songs via Zoom calls and fine-tuning those musical ideas in their own home studios. They'd always written about the human race's challenges, reframing everyday obstacles like doubt and depression as reasons to come together rather than pull apart. During a year like 2020, those themes of optimism and mindfulness -- of finding silver linings in the most troublesome of situations -- seemed more important than ever before.
"That's a narrative we always weave into our music, which is the desire to believe that things are going to get better," says Jordan. "2020 was a year that created a lot of anxiety in all of us, but with these songs, we're choosing joy in the midst of chaos. Things can still be beautiful, even if they aren't ordinary. The thread is hope."
From the synth-pop sweep of "Soldier On" to the dance-floor dynamism of "Tears to Diamonds," Nothing is Ordinary. Everything is Beautiful builds upon the bold, climatic sound of its predecessor. There's a wider arc of diversity at play, too, from "Good Day" -- a summery swirl of pop melodies and hip-hop swagger, with rapped verses from Social Club Misfits -- to "Better," whose electric guitars ground the song in earthbound stomp. At its heart, though, Nothing is Ordinary. Everything is Beautiful is a bombastic, uplifting pop album about resilience and resolve, dreamt into existence by two collaborative producers and songwriters who've learned to keep a steady perspective during unstable times. This is music for clubs, cathedrals, and coliseums -- wide-armed, Technicolor music that's built to move, punctuated by messages that pack as powerful a punch as the EDM drops, pulsing drumbeats, and singalong choruses that push each track skyward.
"We were supposed to spend 2020 on the road," says Adam. "Instead, I was able to stay at home, watch my 1 year-old son hit a number of developmental milestones, and use modern technology to write songs with Jordan without always being in the same room. We were able to honor the sound that's gotten us here -- the marriage of organic instruments and pop synthesizers -- while evolving our approach."
"It's been a reminder that life is a matter of perspective, which is what we wanted to convey with the album's title," he adds. "There are silver linings all around, if you're willing to shift your perspective to find them. Life's hard. It really is. But your perspective matters. Keep your eyes open, be present, and look for the good -- because it's there, if you choose to see it."