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The Evening Visits

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Album Review

After releasing a brilliant single by the Apartments on their Able label in 1979, the Go-Betweens almost added the band's leader Peter Milton Walsh to their lineup, but ultimately it didn't work out. "Walsh is night," said Grant McLennan. "We are day," added Robert Forster. After some more false starts, Walsh re-formed the Apartments and set about proving the duo right. Signed to Rough Trade after impressing them with a demo, the Apartments' debut album from 1985, The Evening Visits...and Stays for Years is a dark, brooding affair that features Walsh's idiosyncratic vocals and lyrics that hint at major emotional upheavals, or at least some very deep feels. Walsh's biting croon is balanced by layers of jangling acoustic and electric guitars and the occasional strings and horns, with a production style that calls to mind that of his former mate's concurrent work. His songs work best when they are enveloped in a warm bed of sound, as in the lovely ballad "Mr. Somewhere," which was later covered by This Mortal Coil, or the spiky "Cannot Tell the Days Apart." When his vocals are pushed too far out front, as on the austere "All the Birthdays," they can be a little off-putting. The brief foray into swampy blues territory ("Speechless with Tuesday") is also not quite playing to the band's strengths. Mostly though, the album is a perfect match of singer and song, with quite a few of the songs coming out even when placed up against those of his peers: "Mr. Somewhere," definitely, but also the bouncy "Great Fool" and the quietly desperate "Sunset Hotel," which kicks the album off in fine Cohen-esque style. The Evening Visits...and Stays for Years signaled the emergence of a major new songwriting talent, and if it took him a while to break through previous to the album's release, it was worth the wait for fans of intelligently crafted, bleedingly emotional pop music.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A brisk Australian chamber pop group with echoes of Frenchman Serge Gainsbourg as well as Leonard Cohen and post-punk, the Apartments were formed in Brisbane during the late '70s by singer and guitarist Peter Milton Walsh, guitarist Michael O'Connell, bassist Peter Whitby, and drummer Peter Martin. Soon after the band's formation, Walsh was asked to join the Go-Betweens. It didn't work out, but the band released its first single for the band's Able label in 1979. The first incarnation of the Apartments...
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The Evening Visits, The Apartments
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