Apologies I Have None – Pharmacie

The first thing you notice about a record, before you get into the music and first track is the album cover. I know the old adage is “don’t judge a book by its cover” but I tend to include album artwork in my reviews. I’m not sure this premise can be directly applied to music, particularly if it is intended to be heard on vinyl, the artwork becomes quite a spectacle and quite often draws myself (and I guess other listeners?) to the record. Apologies, I Have None (AIHN) have effectively used simplicity on their album artwork. The dull monochromatic photo of a brick wall screams “England” and the one bit of colour; the first aid cross and word “Pharmacie” in green on a shop sign, let you know you’re in for a dark record about mental health. I’m not sure this album cover would suit most punk bands, but with a knowledge of AIHN, it lets the listener know they have stayed true to their dark, pain riddled roots and builds anticipation of the music within.

The album starts off strong with the two songs most likely to reach an audience wider than the typical AIHN crowd, “Love and Medication” and “Wraith”. They are probably two of the louder songs on the album and are musically very powerful; however they are probably not in among my favorite songs on the album. While I love the second half of Wraith; everything from “I can’t help thinking, if you mention suicide again, I swear I’ll kill you myself” onwards, I find that the lyrics are somewhat overpowered by the music in these songs. It’s personal preference that I look for strong lyrics in AIHN songs over music, and it’s not something that is for everyone – these are still certainly very strong songs by any normal standard.

The only slip up I could find on this record is the placement of the song “The Clarity of Morning”. The song, originally released on the 2014 EP “Black Everything”, is the third song on the album nestled between “Wraith” and “Anything Chemical”. This is one of my favourite songs off the Black Everything EP, but as it reaches crescendo on the final lyics; “I’m sorry, when I said I didn’t love you, what I meant was I hate myself” it has the listener singing (yelling) along and prepared for a big intro into the next song. Unfortunately, it is followed by the much quieter “Anything Chemical”, and the transition is not as smooth as you find on the rest of the album.

So often you find that an album starts strong but fails to hold the listener to the end of the album, whether it be due to placing the strongest songs at the beginning, or delivering too much of the same throughout the album. Pharmacie has one of the strongest (softest) second halves of an album that I can remember. From “Crooked Teeth” to the final song, “A Pharmacy in Paris” the album takes a turn – a turn from the AIHN that we have seen on previous albums into a soft and painful AIHN that has me tearing up as I write this. The songs increase from an average length of 4min (first 5 songs) to an average of over 5min (second 5 songs). I am unable to describe the feeling of “Crooked Teeth” and do it justice; if anyone reads this review, I ask you to listen to this song and let me know if you get through it without getting goosebumps.

This review is getting a bit out of hand, and while I’d love to continue and discuss each song individually, I should wrap it up at “Everybody Wants to Talk About Mental Health”. The music of this song does an excellent job of putting the listeners focus on the lyrics; the song takes an interesting look at how we are trained to deal with mental illnesses – to talk about them. The lyrics “now eveybody wants to talk about mental health – like everybody thinks by talking they can work their problems out – I’ve never been one for talking about myself – so if talk is the only way to solve this, I don’t want to sort it out” strike a chord with myself as I realise I have been guilty of both believing that talking is the best way to solve mental health issues and also refusing to talk about my own. It makes me realise that while talking was an important step to solving my own issues, it wasn’t the only, or even necessarily the most important step. I’m not entirely sure if this lyric is saying that there is other ways, or just highlighting how hard it can be for people who hate to bring attention to themselves, but it is certainly a lyric that gets me thinking.

I am under no illusions that the musical style of Apologies, I Have None won’t appeal to everyone; however for those who are looking for lyrical content, particularly around mental health issues and the struggle overcome them, this album is for you. The album takes a more quiet path than previous AIHN releases, which works well with the content of the songs and puts the emphasis on the lyrics. This could easily be one of my favourite releases of the year.


Matt Power
27 August 2016

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Feeling Happy/Anxious
Drinking Coffe (x1)
Recent Listening Kitty Kat Fan Club
How I Listened Sony XBA-3 Headphones

Note This is the album that got me into punk rock. 

Apologies I have None Pharmacie

Artist Apologies, I Have None
Album Pharmacie
Released 26 Aug 2016
Label Holy Roar Records
Tracks 10
Run Time 45 minutes
Genre Punk

Apologies I have None Pharmacie