About The Apartments
The Apartments are an Australian indie rock band led by singer/songwriter Peter Milton Walsh whose reputation as a pop cult figure dates back to the early 1980s. With an evocative sound that has traversed delicate chamber pop, jangling indie rock, and post-punk, the Apartments have worked in fits and starts with multiple different lineups supporting Walsh over four decades. Although based out of Sydney, their most enduring fan base has remained in France, where their 1985 debut became a cult hit. A string of well-received mid-'90s releases earned them some additional visibility, after which they went on a lengthy hiatus until 2015's acclaimed comeback No Song No Spell No Madrigal. Since then, Walsh and the Apartments have enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in the indie world, returning again in 2020 with their seventh album, In and Out of the Light.
The Apartments were formed in Brisbane 1978 by 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. While his tenure with them was short-lived, it resulted in the Apartments' first EP, The Return of the Hypnotist, being released by their Able Label in 1979. Around that same time, Walsh left Brisbane, effectively ending the band's original incarnation. After his next band, Out of Nowhere, failed to find traction, he spent some time in New York, briefly teaming up with future Go-Between Robert Vickers as a member of a band called the Colors.
By 1984, Walsh was living in Sydney and re-formed the Apartments with members from his Out of Nowhere project. After signing to Rough Trade on the strength of a six-song demo tape, the band's debut album The Evening Visits...And Stays for Years was released in 1985. Although it didn't make a big impact in Australia, the album hailed by critics in the U.K. and subsequently became a cult classic in France. With yet another retooled lineup, the Apartments' sole output for the remainder of the decade was the 1987 single "The Shyest Time" which appeared in the John Hughes film Some Kind of Wonderful a year later.
Released seven years after their debut, their 1992 follow-up Drift received similar exposure, earning praise in France where the band toured to promote it. 1995's A Life Full of Farewells kicked off a prolific period which yielded the stripped-down acoustic album Fête Foraine (1996) and Apart (1997). The Apartments even gained American release on Twin/Tone Records. When Walsh's young son was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, he put the band on hold in order to care for him. Following his son's death in 1999, the Apartments entered a hiatus that would last for most of the next decade.
Slowly, over a period of several years, Walsh resumed occasional touring under the Apartments name, playing a handful of Australian and French dates with various lineups and in 2011 released a single called "Black Ribbons." A live session for Radio France was released in 2013 by French label Talitres under the name Seven Songs. As interest in the band began to increase, a new lineup came together and entered the studio to record 2015's No Song No Spell No Madrigal, the Apartments' fifth studio album and first in eighteen years. A lush and introspective set, it was a critically lauded return to form that ended up on numerous year-end lists in Australia and France. A concert recorded during a 2015 French tour was later released in 2019 as Live at L'Ubu. Walsh's next Apartments release, the impressionistic In and Out of the Light, arrived in 2020. ~ John Bush & Timothy Monger