Character is a key component in punk rock and Apologies, I Have None are a band that has never lacked it. Their phenomenal debut ‘London’ took you straight into the mind of frontman Josh Mckenzie and his frustrations and pleasures of being a young man growing up in the city.
Follow-up ‘Pharmacie’ is a more grown-up record, and with growing up comes a need to confront past regrets and being able to admit you’re not as fine as you like to tell your mates.
Urgency is the main trait of Mckenzie’s delivery here, as though every line was written like it needed to be heard by an active audience. Self-reflection on tracks like ‘Goodbye, Peace of Mind’ (“We could try to pick a path through the waste of our past, but I’d just rather have some of that time back”) and hopeless lamenting on ‘Crooked Teeth’ (“The rush of youth evaporate… reminds you that you spent your whole life trying but couldn’t outrun defeat”) is difficult listening, but it all comes straight from the young man’s heart.
This fragility is highlighted by the silky production of the album and the band’s earnest performance which takes from the post-rock school of building up from atmospheric passages into enormous three-chorded poundings, which feel like the crashing of waves on tracks like ‘Killers’ or ‘Anything Chemical’.
But for all the grace and sensitivity that flows through the music, ‘Pharmacie’ is a harsh record which feels as real as you can make it. Mckenzie is a man haunted by his past, and recording this album feels like it was necessary for the band to make so he could vent his worries and melancholy.
However, it’s an empowering album, which will be felt many young people with their own regrets and confusion about their future. And in a time of uncertainty felt in the UK and young people across the world, Apologies I Have None are a band that might make us feel less alone.
‘Pharmacie’ by Apologies, I Have None is released on 26th August on Holy Roar Records.
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)