Sound — 7
The full-length debut of the British band "London" is something many will probably write off as yet another clone of The Menzingers and Against Me!. They are, fortunately, either elitists or wankers. Despite having a common ground with both bands, Apologies, I Have None are not another copycat trying to snatch the spotlight and then disappear in their new cars, but a band who can write songs of their own. "60 Miles," the first song on the LP, is a wonderful example how appearances deceive. Instead of having another mediocre melodic punk song, they employ simple riffs and four chords in a manner that isn't repulsing after years of hearing the formula, which is saying something. Incredibly energetic, with harmonies in the chorus and a slowdown in the interlude, it kicks off one of the best underground pop-punk releases of 2012.
The songs aren't complicated, rather relying on simple structures to deliver songs with great hooks and memorable melodies. Where other bands from the genre tend to mess with the structure for the sake of originality, AIHN manage to write good songs without the help of broken riffs or uneven measures.
Sound isn't overly polished, nor is it muddy and grungy - just a typical mix, present in many other records, which in no way is an indication of a bad album. That said, there is almost nothing remarkable about the engineering, the exception being "Foundations" - piano led moment of calm, which could easily be wasted by attempting to make it sound like a typical indie piano song.
Lyrics — 9
If you need a comparison, think Defiance, Ohio meet The Menzingers - storylike structure of Columbus band and great hooks of Pennsylvanians. Despite the similarity, the London quartet manages to not just steal few lines and structure from both bands, rather going for their own, genuine style. Dealing with topics of having to face the consequences, improving oneself and trying to not screw up this time around, the lyrics are extremely personal, heartbreaking at times, even though similar topics are one of the more popular in the genre. At times the lyrics are delivered as if the situations described were happening right during the recording - the best example is "The 26," with incredibly pissed-off part "I still tend to oversimplify certain situations like the time she told me that she fucked him and I thought - I can't believe this, did she not know that I loved her? I'm going to smash this bitches face in, find the cunt and stab the fucker. Someone's going to die tonight." It almost sounds as if the singer was about to break down into tears of rage and is perhaps the most powerful part of the whole album.
That being said, the songs aren't depressing, tending to focus on how the future can be improved thanks to the mistakes that have been made. The optimism is present in each and every song, although sometimes it can be hard to heard. Album finale "Long Gone" serves as the closure to all the situations described in the other songs, openly stating that if times are hard, it's still possible to save yourself with a little help of the friends.
The band borrows a line from Grade song, "Triumph and Tragedy" in "Sat in Vicky Park."
Overall Impression — 8
In the wake of all the pop-punk bands that started to get some attention, Apologies, I Have None might come as a rip-off, but that is an utterly stupid conclusion. Despite sounding at times like their older colleagues from U.S., they have their own unmistakable style and charm. The highlights are "60 Miles", "The 26" and "Long Gone," all three of them heartfelt and well-executed.
It is worth noting that "Foundations" has been re-recorded in a more punk fashion and released with its own video, which is more upbeat than its album counterpart and absolutely worth checking out (and subsequently getting your hands on it).
It might not be groundbreaking or the most original release of 2012, but it's definitely one of the most honest, charming and personal albums of the year. With their EP coming out 9th May 2014, it's definitely at least worth checking out on their Bandcamp page.