Today we are continuing our Future Classics series. This nomination is for what I believe is the best UK punk album of the last decade. It's an album that brought me back to UK punk rock after a few years of solely listening to American punk music. I'm trying to write a long winded introduction that leaves you in suspense about what album I'm talking about but now I'm thinking what is the point? You're reading this column so therefore you've probably read the massive title at the top of the screen. If not you can probably see the artwork below this paragraph. If you've done neither of these things then the album that I think is a Future Classic is London by Apologies, I Have None.
Apologies, I Have None formed as a guitar and drum two piece featuring Josh McKenzie and Dan Bond in the early 2000s. During the early stage of their career they released a handful of EPs and eventually grew into a full band with Josh and Dan both taking guitar and vocal duties, while they were joined by Joe Watson on drums and PJ Shepherd on bass. This was the band's line up when they released London in 2012.
London was self released on CD by the band and the brilliant London based record label Household Name handled the vinyl release. It was also later put out in Germany by Uncle M Music.
Now being a full band, the Apologies sound grew from an acoustic almost folk style punk rock to more of a melodic sing-a-long style and I think this style is why the album is so universally loved. It's accessible to anyone. It doesn't fall into the fast, shouty, super aggressive genre of punk rock but it's also not so poppy and cheery that it would put off the most diehard of punk rock fans. It's fantastically played punk rock that you can shout along with at the top of your voice. That seems to be the way that punk music has grown over the years. It's not just 1000mph three chord punk rock with snarling and snotty vocals. Punk rock has morphed into expert musicians playing these songs that can move people, teach them things and help them grow. London ticks all of those boxes.
Lyrically the ten songs on London tackle a whole range of subject matter but also fall under the universal topic of what it's like living in London. Subjects tackled include learning from your mistakes, growing as a person, getting through bad times, dealing with mental health and blaming others for your own wrong-doings.
London features two of my all time favourite lyrics. The first of which is in the second track, Sat In Vicky Park - "The Worst Mistake To Make Is To Be Afraid To Make Mistakes, And I Can't Believe This Took So Long To Learn, It Should Be So Obvious, Like A Man Cannot Be Measured By The Number Of People He's Fucked, Like Numbers On A Payslip Are No Indication Of Worth" and in the fourth song Concrete Feet - "You'll Always Make Mistakes, You'll Always Fuck Shit Up, You Will Sometimes Make Bad Choices And Blame That Shit On Bad Luck, You Will Often Face Decisions That You Do Not Want To Make, And You'll Find Yourselves On Paths That You Did Not Mean To Take, There Is Always An Answer, There Is Always A Lesson, A Lining Of Silver Around Every Situation, And Asking For Help Is Not The Same Thing As Failing." These are my two personal favourite lyrics but the album is jam packed with more great ones.
I always think an album should be judged on how great it sounds live as well as on record. London live probably eclipses London recorded. Being in a room with sweaty like minded individuals belting out these songs like our lives depend on it. Even five years later singing along to any of these songs, though they don't play half of this album anymore since Dan left the band, still has an extremely cathartic and gratifying experience. Since London's release, Apologies have released the EP Black Everything and the album Pharmacie, which are both incredible releases, but it's still the tracks from London that get the biggest reactions. They are timeless.
This is why I consider London by Apologies, I Have None to be a future classic. An album that when people talk about defining albums of this generation of punk rock will be mentioned a lot.
Stream and download London here: https://apologiesihavenone.bandcamp.com/album/london-2012
Like Apologies, I Have None here: https://www.facebook.com/apologiesihavenone/
This column was written by Colin Clark.