Album Review :
Apartment 5 - Apartment 5

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Band: Apartment 5
Title: Apartment 5
Label: Self-released
Release date: 2010
Review By: Alex S

Tracklisting:

  1. Superfast Abby
  2. Warm Instant Weapons
  3. When It Comes

Let me tell you this: having been here all of my existence, living in Florida can be pretty brutal. For example:

-I haven’t seen snow (in person) since I was 2 years old, and does that even really count?
-The leaves don’t change.
-We don’t even really have a winter season; the weather goes from fall-ish to a quite warm spring (for about a week and a half tops, and it’s almost over by now) to summer in late April. I wore shorts in January. To the beach. In January.
-Summer lasts almost 7 1/2 months, or so it seems.
-I burn quite easily in spite of loving the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. The Gulf doesn’t count, sorry West Coast.
-My car doesn’t have air conditioning at the moment (bummer, right?).
-And since it’s so far out of the way more often than not, we central and south Floridians don’t get a lot of bands that won’t tour further south than Jacksonville or Pensacola, sometimes not even as far south as Atlanta. This is a big bummer as well, since it takes some bands many months or even years to come back — if they ever come back. When I saw them, The Flaming Lips hadn’t been to St. Petersburg in almost 16 years.

However, I say all that to say this: I jest. In spite of my faux prodding, I love Florida, I love summer, and I love summer jams. There is nothing like getting up real early and driving to the east coast for the sunrise, system turned up even if it’s still dark. The ride there is like any “last leg” of the trip toward your family’s vacation destination: boundless energy, a certain feeling of electricity, the anticipation building with every milemarker and exit sign, and every agonizing minute spent in traffic behind the elderly.

Believe me when I tell you that Apartment 5’s self-titled debut is a summer jam you’ll want to bump at your local block party in between bites of your vegan hot dog, you hipster you. Throw some tofu and tempeh on the grill and call up some friends, have a beach day and listen to some Apartment 5. I can guarantee instant local, maybe even regional recognition and renown if you do.

“Superfast Abby” kicks off in 1961, right before BeatleMania. But then, ya know, those 4 shaggy-haired kids muddied the whole field of play and made it tough out there for other bands to succeed. Though, this track has a bit of a twang to it, unlike those Beatles. They are — Apartment 5, that is — good ol’ southern boys, being from Fayetteville, Arkansas, after all. I’d venture to say the song has some aural similarities to Neva Dinova at times, in that it is silky smooth, melodic, soothing, like relaxing in a hot tub after an ocean swim. This is a strong compliment. Twice in the song, at about 1/3 and 2/3 of the way through, Nick, Joel, Max and Matt (See? They’ve even got Beatles-like names) take it down a notch, slow-mo style, just to make sure you’re still alive. It’s good music to listen to if you’re eating an ice cream cone on the sand after beach volleyball. You just scored the winning spike, I know you did. And why? Because you warmed up to Apartment 5. Also, I’m pretty sure lyrically the song is about Wonder Woman, but maybe that’s just what I got out of it.

“Warm Instant Weapons” is another fun, mildly spacey, rollicking frolic of a romp through the surf and turf. It might make you want to listen to your parent’s (or maybe your grandparent’s) doo-wop records, as the words go something to the tune of “Babababadadadada” (actual lyrics of the song). Jam on it.

Lastly, “When It Comes” has an instantly likeable bass groove that will make you recognize and pay attention to the bass in a song without it blowing out your subs (looking at you, rap music). Super duper stuff. It could possibly conjure up memories of you buying that leather jacket during the garage rock revival from a couple years ago when your favorite band was The Strokes. That fad’s already faded pretty quickly. I definitely hear shades of TV on the Radio in this track. I’d even go out on a limb to say, had Jonezetta continued on their indie dance pop rock path with a similar sound to Popularity instead of severely deviating to Cruel To Be Young‘s folk, they would have yielded similar results to what Apartment 5 has produced with this song.

Nick Askew croons:

Don’t give up on me
I’ll try my best
I can’t see past the ocean
I’m a grain of sand

That’s how I’d like to imagine you digesting these tunes: playing on a boombox in the back of your station wagon with the hatch up, holding a beverage of your choosing and on the sands of your favorite beach. And if you don’t like beaches, what’s wrong with you?

So perhaps the fairly serious, pseudo-political lyrics don’t exactly match the music. Who cares? You will want to slap this bad boy on repeat all summer. Ignore the words. Replace the ones you don’t like with “Babababadadadada”. It worked for me. And if all else fails, you’ll like it because they have what appears to be a bipedal fox on the cover. Get into it.

Overall: These early songs from the band are very promising and I look forward to hearing further material produced by these hepcats and beatniks.

RIYL: The Strokes, Neva Dinova, TV on the Radio, Jonezetta, pineapples, bowl hair cuts, avoiding shark attacks, spring break, foxes, etc.