For years, the London-based duo of Apoloiges, I Have None could not avoid the Against Me! comparison, and with good reason. The group started out as a folk punk unit making use of an acoustic guitar, drums and impassion vocals, and while it was great at what it did – the Done EP is proof of that – it didn’t take on its own sound until it expanded its line-up to a full four piece.
On the group’s 2010 self-released 7-inch, the band unleashed it showcased its new sound by way of the songs “Sat in Vicky Park” and “Joiners and Windmills.” The folk-punk influence that permeated the band’s early releases was hardly present, but the energetic performances that made Apologies’ early work so enchanting hadn’t gone anywhere. Finally, after being a band for half a decade, Apologies, I Have None has released its debut album London, and thankfully, it was worth the wait.
The 10 song affair sees Apologies dissecting the human condition while framing it in the city that has helped shape the experiences of the band members. Songs such as “The 26” reference a specific bus route in London, but they use that as a mere starting point for the emotions that those local landmarks have informed.
Where the group’s early EPs were always enjoyable, London is the first Apologies release that feels complete. Although it features both “Sat in Vicky Park” and “Joiners and Windmills,” the new recordings make them feel at home on the record as opposed to superfluous re-recordings. It makes sense that these songs find their home on London, as they feel like the songs that truly transformed Apologies into the powerhouse it is today.
Although the album is decidedly a punk record, it has an air of darkness that finds a way to reflect harsh realities while simultaneously attempting to rise above the negativity. “Clapton Pond” finds a way to sum up the album’s whole ideology with a few simple lines. “It’s always like this, things they fall apart when we just can’t let go,” is a chorus that points to a defeatist attitude, but is the song’s very last line that seems to sum up the band’s last few years, “This is progress towards perfection.”
London is not a perfect album – it has a few slight missteps – but overall, it is one of the most refreshing punk albums in recent memory. It finds a way to channel anger and frustration into something positive, and in doing so, it becomes one of the most heartfelt releases of the year. If there’s one thing that is true about London, it is that there is not a bad song on it, and that if Apologies keeps on pushing itself, it will reach perfection.
Apologies, I Have None – London tracklist:
- “60 Miles”
- “Sat in Vicky Park”
- “Clapton Pond”
- “Concrete Feet”
- “Still Sitting Tight”
- “Holloway or Anywhere”
- “The 26”
- “Joiners and Windmills”
- “Long Gone”