Apologies, I Have None – ‘Pharmacie’

By Ben Tipple

As vocalist Josh Mckenzie vents on ‘Anything Chemical’, it’s heart-breaking. “There’s no coming back from here,” he cracks, the pain in his voice palpable. It’s indicative of the anguish running through ‘Pharmacie’, the eagerly anticipated follow-up to 2012’s exceptional ‘London’ debut. And it’s by no means a standalone moment. Any snapshot from the album’s ten tracks is packed with an unparalleled level of emotion. The sound Apologies, I Have None began to master on last year’s ‘Black Everything’ EP has morphed into something altogether more bleak, yet through it stunningly beautiful.

Their evolution is laid out. ‘The Clarity Of Morning’, originally appearing on their 2014 EP, has transformed into a near-orchestral masterpiece. Any risk of melodrama is skilfully avoided, instead the gut-wrenching turmoil is present with an expert level of authenticity, even as Mckenzie snarls on the uncandidly titled ‘Everybody Wants To Talk About Mental Health’. “Everybody thinks by talking they can work their problems out; I’ve never be one for talking about myself,” he states openly. “I’ll keep it in, chew it up, spit it out with unwanted aggression.”

With that, ‘Pharmacie’ is a balance of both. It’s Apologies, I Have None’s juxtaposition of both their willingness and reluctance to tackle these problems, and the sound that emerges from this conflict. Yet despite these desolate overtones, the record is never gruelling. As it ebbs and flows from the reserved ‘Crooked Teeth’ to the distressed ‘Love & Medication’, the stunning eight-minute epic ‘Killers’ captures the full spectrum of emotion, offering a release in its endless soundscape.

These momentary respites are few and far between, but exist just enough to avoid complete despair. ‘Pharmacie’ is instead uplifting in its relatability rather than its sound, and through that presents something remarkably unique. The light at the end of the tunnel may be dimmed, but the pained, bleak walls are given a poetic shine that’s ultimately breath-taking.

BEN TIPPLE

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