The Campbell Apartment release titled, ‘In,’ (Nov 2011) features catchy melodies and a down-home attitude, thus drawing comparisons to bands as various as Weezer and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Formed in New York City in 2007, The Campbell Apartment thrilled when their debut album, ‘Insomniac’s Almanac’ was named by The Village Voice as 2008’s 4th best album. Since then, the group has relocated cross country to San Francisco. Ari Vais is the singer/songwriter who is joined by Fountains of Wayne guitarist Jody Porter who also acts as producer; Martin Schneider contributes as bassist and Ed Burch plays drums.
Coming from a place of skepticism, The Campbell Apartment opens with the persistently close-hearted, “I Don’t Believe in Love (Anymore).” The quick pacing and repeated chorus feel like a jaded man’s walk down an avenue lined with Valentines vendors. The pestered man swats away flowery signs and romance pamphlets, insisting that he is just fine without such nonsense.
A heartland style ode to faded dreams comes next in “The See You Laters.” This is followed by the light fun of “Autumn” which claims, “If you want the goods, she’s got ‘em.”
The crazy almost-heard-Teen-Spirit intro of “Season in the Sun” will psych you out for a few seconds before it turns into even crazier Crash-Test-Dummies-do-pop vocals. Once you get passed the weirdness of it all, the lyrics actually make this a fun relatable tune. “Everybody wants a season in the sun” but again, hope is a scary thing to cling onto, as the song warns, “It’s too dangerous to wish for what you want.”
The wavering vocals of the acoustic ballad, “I’ll Never Know” carry a rawness that is moving, though the song comes slightly early in the album, as, immediately after this, you’re jolted by the punk pop chords of “My Many Mini Obsessions.” The ballad might have been better coupled with the simple yet sweet duet, “Tonight You Belong to Me.”
Aside from the final summary goodbye of “That’s All There Is (That’s All)” the album finishes with the heartfelt pounding rock of “Accidental Airlines.”
The Campbell Apartment is relaxed, but not at peace. ‘In’ is a collection of statements which hold little room for the possibility of change. The music is matter-of-fact and often light-hearted. It doesn’t ache with angst or get in your face. Mellow yet charming is ‘In.’