Album Review: The Apartments – In and Out of the Light
This album from Peter Milton Walsh’s group features deep-hued melancholy, heartfelt lyrics and a vibe that’s equal parts subdued and impassioned. The group’s sound is reminiscent of a more relaxed version of The Church (The Apartments are Australian as well), though Walsh’s lyrics are decidedly more straightforward than those of Steve Kilbey.
Walsh’s well-worn voice might take a bit of getting used to, but it’s worth the minor effort; it’s the perfect instrument to convey the weary, resigned and sometimes wistful lyrical content. Quite possibly the album’s strongest cut, “What’s Beauty to Do?” has some subtly jangle-pop textures, but it’s still consistent in tone with the rest of the albums. “Butterfly Kiss” is darkly elegiac, an antipodean cousin to Big Star’s “Holocaust,” with trumpet.
An interesting technique used throughout the album is Walsh’s overdubbed voice singing two different sets of lyrics, sometimes with different melodies. The crosstalk effect is intentionally disorienting, but its effect is to draw the listener further into the music. The music is already inviting, but it’s Walsh’s lyrics that establish the core of In and Out of the Light. Heartbreak has rarely been this enjoyable.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.