The Apartments - The Evening Visits And Stays For Years [Expanded Edition]

by David Bruggink Rating:7 Release Date:2015-04-01
For anyone in search of a lost gem of heartfelt, elegant pop with a bit of jangle, the Apartments' A Life Full of Farewells makes an exciting discovery. Peter Walsh's untrained but impassioned singing, inviting comparisons to The Blue Nile's Paul Buchanan, along with the album’s graceful arrangements, make it an easy recording to love. Its rich acoustic tone, equally informed by post-punk and tuneful pop, brings Britain more readily to mind than Brisbane - unless, of course, you account for The Go-Betweens. 

Though The Go-Betweens were responsible for some of the most memorable indie-rock of the 80s (and some stellar material later in their career, too), The Apartments, occupying a somewhat similar musical niche, have been unfortunately overshadowed by their compatriots - so it’s a welcome surprise to see that Brooklyn-based Captured Tracks has re-released their debut album, The Evening Visits… and Stays for Years, originally released in 1985.
 
A Life Full of Farewells, their third album, is so confidently composed and performed, and its hooks so indelible, that it makes you wonder if The Apartments' earlier material might showcase these qualities in an enjoyably nascent form. Indeed, the melodies of The Evening Visits... are still discernible, but its rhythms are more urgent and its edges rougher. Perhaps most strikingly, Peter Walsh’s voice is further back in the mix, not quite shaped into the wonderfully smooth focal point that it would become. 
 
In some cases, his less assured warble finds perfect accompaniment in sophisticated arrangements that anticipate the band’s mastery of ornate pop songs, such as ‘Mr. Somewhere’. Tracks like ‘The Black Road Shines (on Rainy Nights)’ and ‘Lazarus, Lazarus’ have an infectious energy, and The Apartments come off as a finely-tuned garage band, while the rambunctious ‘Help’ feels almost like a lost track from early Orange Juice. 'All You Wanted' features one the band's most moving refrains, skillfully bringing together its inclinations towards acoustic pop and post-punk.

But in the gentler tracks, as well as the more assertive ones, the band’s results are mixed. 'Great Fool’ squanders its catchier moments by bookending them with dismal ones. ‘Speechless With Tuesday’ feels a bit like an attempt to rival the gravity of something like The Smiths' ‘How Soon is Now,’ but ends up meandering, never quite settling on a lasting melody. 
 
While some of these songs might be included in the band’s best material, The Evening Visits... ultimately serves as a solid introduction to a wonderful band whose best work was still to come.

Overall Rating (0)

0 out of 5 stars
Related Articles