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Available on 12” vinyl and CD on Microcultures. First new album from Sydney based The Apartments in eighteen years!?! No Song No Spell No Madrigal is filled with hugely cinematic chamber pop that has the climactic builds of The Antlers or Cinematic Orchestra and the raw emotive power of Leonard Cohen’s Dance me to the End of Love.

LP £18.99 MM018LP

LP on Microcultures.

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CD £11.49 MM018CD

CD on Microcultures.

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No Song No Spell No Madrigal by The Apartments
2 reviews. Write a review for us »
9/10 Clinton Staff review, 07 July 2015

I was recently given a severe reprimanding by a customer after I failed to mention in this review of the recent Captured Tracks re-issue of The Apartments' early work that the band were still going. Please accept my heartfelt apologies for this oversight but I hope that I can make up for this somehow by telling you lovingly all about their first album in 18 years.

I’ve used the pronoun ‘they’ throughout that last paragraph but really The Apartments are the nom de plume of Peter Walsh who was in an early incarnation of the Go-Betweens. Really, if you choose the Go-Betweens and the Triffids as the truly great Australian bands (many would also put Nick Cave and his Bad Seeds in here too), then The Apartments are the great lost Australian band. This record is an absolutely perfectly sculpted record of sophisticated chamber pop with wonderful string parts (courtesy of The Go-Betweens Amanda Brown) and splendidly mature arrangements -- and if this sounds all a little middle of the road for you, then it’s middle of the road in the same way that Tindersticks are or the Blue Nile are or Trash Can Sinatras are.

I was towards the tail end of the second track ‘Looking For Another Town’ when I realised that this is a record I will perhaps have to buy. It has the kind of majestic flourish that you imagine Dexys have until you realise that they are just playing some kind of comedy knockabout cockney knees up. The only mistake Walsh makes is to hand over the vocals to Natasha Penot -- a decent enough singer for sure, but his delivery is so idiosyncratic and heartfelt that the music loses something when it’s not there. What a lovely surprise.

10/10 Ross Holloway Customer review, 17th May 2016

It's hard to believe that this band are not better known - popular it seems only in France and their native Australia. Related to the Go Betweens, main man Peter Milton Walsh featured with them early on, and definitely kindred spirits, this is from the same species of romantic post punk that Australia has a special knack for - think also Nick Cave and the UK's Tindersticks and Belle and Sebastien.

There's a definite influence of French chanson here, and well a feeling of cold winter nights, lost love, redemption, hope. This is a very emotional, very beautiful record, very sensuous. Every song is exquisitely crafted and performed in a wonderfully understated way, not a note out of place, dramatic but never too much. I like this album so much that I'm wary to explore further into their back catalogue for fear of disappointment, though I expect I will one day.


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