Written by: Alex Green
The Apartments’ In And Out Of The Light is one of the most gorgeous and compelling albums of the year and pulling one track out for examination feels like a risky move of audio Jenga—the album is so perfectly balanced it almost feels novelistic—but for the sake of today’s exclusive premiere, we’re willing to take our chances.
The Australian band’s “Where You Used To Be” is one of the album’s most stirringly heartbreaking tracks and now it has an equally stirring and heartbreaking clip to along with it.
Directed with deft poetic precision by Meriel O’Connell, the video captures the sepia-tinged nostalgia of the song and translates it perfectly to the screen through the lens of a childhood crush.
If there’s any truth to the fact that memory is perhaps the least reliable of our skills as human beings and every memory we have is simply a memory of that original memory, then one must admit that there could be a vast difference between what we remember and what we think we remember.
When The Apartments’ Peter Milton Walsh sings: “Half of me is with you now/And half of me is in the past,” he seems acutely aware of this dilemma.
“The waters of memory are moving constantly,” he tells SEM. “And memories change with it, but I’m open to all of the deceptions and seductions that come from that. I’m more possessed by the poetry of memory, rather than its documentary power. I remember feelings more than facts.”
He goes on to say: “I still have scraps from the tornado of my Twenties—you’d think these things would have blown away by now—yet they’ve remained. All of us, unaware, are constantly pressing the flowers of experience into the book of memory. The memories that are dangerous and undo me though, tend to be the memories that don’t and can’t change, that stay fixed. Like stepping onto a mine. You can’t play with those, you just have to deal with them. Usually they’re the ones that will bring back the feel of the world that had certain people in it. Since nothing can bring the people back, I think—where else can we meet now, but in memory or songs? Some of the scraps of memory or my life—I often don’t know the difference—just find their way into songs without me having to think too much about it. That happened with Where You Used to Be—there’s a certain hour of day when you’re reminded of absences and disappearances, and that happened to turn up in the song.”
As Stereo Embers’ Senior Editor Dave Cantrell observed in his review of In And Out Of The Light: “Overall then, and with little surprise, it’s the gift of evocation that floods our senses, the same gift that Apartments records have freely given from the off. As (again) is made clear here on In and Out of the Light, what that scrappy circle of confreres saw him as in the nascent Melbourne scene of the late 70’s – a pure, burning-with-talent songwriter blessed with natural-born, lived-in hooks and lyrics that upped everyone’s game that came in contact with them – has remained undiminished to this day, if anything burnished to a darker, richer, still-burning glow by age and its many seasons of reckoning.”