Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Apartments – No Song, No Spell, No Madrigal

While I don’t do these anymore and the cover should tell you more than any review ever could, I feel this album demands a decent write-up. Because nobody else would give a damn: No Song, No Spell, No Madrigal is the sort of album that hits #128 on French charts, stays there for two weeks, then disappears from the face of Earth forever.

Until some abstract guy from 2043 starts trawling through 2015 albums that fame forgot and discovers this record and scratches his head and looks at the sky and asks how the fuck.

Gentle bass guitar opens the melody of the title track, and we are off. The taste here is impeccable. Peter Milton Walsh is the kind of guy who sings in whimsical, slightly nasal voice (acquired taste, but you’d be a fool not to acquire it) and comes up with bittersweet lines like ‘flowers of regret so suddenly in bloom’. The mood is hopelessly nostalgic, the lyrics are desperately sorrowful and these gorgeous, smooth melodies will take some time dragging out of the snow. 

The only moment that jumps at you comes during “September Skies”: that jangly, melodious chant which offers some hope (until you realise what September sky actually looks like). Otherwise, it’s dark orchestration, moody piano notes, sad guitar lines. You will need to give it some time – in the end, I promise, it will grow deep into you. 

Nostalgia. That’s the sound of this album. That’s the look of it. I mean, the cover is exactly like Munich I saw at the end of January. And end of January seems a million years away.