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Song You Need to Know: The Apartments, ‘She Sings to Forget You’

“Over the years, I’ve found that people have a real soft spot for this torch song,” explains The Apartments’ Peter Milton Walsh.

26 years on from its original release, this week sees The Apartments releasing their beloved third album – A Life Full of Farewells – on vinyl for the first time.

Originally issued on CD only back in 1995, A Life Full of Farewells arrived just two years after The Apartments’ previous effort, drift, and served as their first record to be issued in the US. Accordingly, it also received widespread acclaim, including a review by Rolling Stone’s Dave DiMartino who cited it as “one of the very best albums ever made”.

A celebrated chapter in their beloved discography, A Life Full of Farewells would ultimately serve as one of the last records to be released before the lengthy absence of Peter Milton Walsh from public life – a masterful high note to go out on.

Following a comparatively prolific decade in which The Apartments shared the likes of No Song, No Spell, No Madrigal and 2020’s breathtaking In And Out of the Light, this week sees the long-awaited vinyl release of the album, which also arrives alongside a remastered CD edition.

“I may not have recognised it at the time, but the people in these songs all seemed to be stepping away from the tornado of their Twenties and wondering ‘What’s next?’” Walsh recalls of the record’s subject matter ahead of its reissue.

“Would they spend the new decade the same way as the last or break with the past? They have to work out what to keep, what to leave behind with plenty of questions about how to live and almost no answers. I have a real affection for people dealing with that kind of change and the stories that flow from times of chaos and chance like that.”

To celebrate its impending reissue, The Apartments have re-released the accompanying music video for the album’s penultimate song, “She Sings to Forget You”, with remastered audio accompanying the black-and-white clip

“I was running through ‘She Sings to Forget You’ in the studio with the piano player Chris Abrahams (The Necks) while the producer was setting up the mikes,” recalls Walsh. “Wasn’t really singing it, just a line here and there. I just wanted to hear what it would be like with Chris playing.

“Chris stopped and said ‘I’m playing too much.’ So Paul [McKercher] the producer suggested we try it with me singing it at the same time Chris played. You hear a door closing at the start. That’s Paul the producer leaving the room; the tape’s already running. He was recording it.

“Chris started and six or so minutes later, we finished the song. I went into the control booth and asked if I should do it again. Paul and Eliot [Fish, bass] said, ‘Why would you?'”

A truly mesmerising piece of work that serves as an example of the stunning emotional intensity that The Apartments hold, the track was also accompanied by a music video created by former Orange Juice bassist David McClymont, who repurposed footage of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 film Solaris.

“Over the years, I’ve found that people have a real soft spot for this torch song,” continues Walsh. “David McClymont loved it and placed it behind this timeless scene from Tarkovsky’s Solaris after he noticed the couple in the scene seem to move at the same stately pace as the song. He’s now upgraded the audio with the re-mastered version from this 2021 reissue.

“Who better than Tarkovsky for a song about time, memory, love and obsession, about those from our past who appear to us out of memory?”

The Apartments’ long-awaited vinyl issue, and remastered CD edition of A Life Full of Farewells is officially reissued on Friday, April 16th. Feature image by Philippe Remond.