Friday, May 27, 2016

The Apartments - A Life Full of Farewells

The Apartments' third album, released in 1995, showed that very little had changed in the band's world and any passing trends such as grunge, shoegaze, Britpop etc had not rubbed off on them one bit.  Opening with a forlorn trumpet, Things You'll Keep hits that moderately miserable note firm in the solar plexus, all down-strummed guitars and Peter Milton Wash singing about thinking "there was a way out, so you took it" in a generally self-pitying way.

A beautifully sunny guitar pattern opens The Failure of Love Is A Brick Wall, seeing the track fall just on the less sunny side of Lloyd Cole.  You Became My Big Excuse introduces steel guitars courtesy of Tommy Grasso which seem a little incongruous, giving the track a far more country feel than standard issue The Apartments.  Along similar lines to how Red House Painters incorporated steel guitar on Songs For A Blue Guitar.  Rural bungalows, perhaps??  End of Fear is a little more lively, a busy strum introduced by some almost jaunty trumpet as Walsh sings about wanting to "fill you up with laughter".  But it's a plea rather than a promise in the desperate world of The Apartments.  On the other hand Thank You For Making Me Beg evokes the (relatively few) more downbeat moments of David Bowie's early seventies output.

This is exquisite sad bastard music.  The stripped down piano version of Goodbye Train, renamed as the far more specific She Sings To Forget You should be way way too wallowing but it really works as Walsh wrings out every syllable drawing each one out for maximum effect ("you visit all the crummy rooms, stale sweat and old perfumes"... "you're not lost or broken yet, you can't give in").  The final track, a song entitled All The Time In The World is given a fatal twist: "we've got all the time in the world now... how are you gonna kill it?", quite the turn of phrase to convey the overall feel of loneliness.