Apatia Odejdź Lub Zostań LP

With this record, Nikt Nic Nie Wie continues to re-release the work of distinguished Polish HC/punk band APATIA. On their second LP, they sound better defined than before. Of course, it’s short, fast and (mostly) loud, but the band has always enriched or stretched the genre just a bit. There’s more lead guitar than you’d expect for hardcore, and the charging 4/4 rhythm is often altered in small, effective ways. I’m always a little nervous when punk bands instrumentalize too much. Luckily, on this record it felt of a piece rather than overshooting the mark. APATIA’s ambition (and maybe some good editing?) gives their hardcore a depth that other bands might not have.

Apatia Demo 1991 LP

The impact APATIA had on the then-emerging Polish DIY punk/HC scene is immeasurable. The first time I was in Europe, it seemed like everyone in every town would mention this band I had never heard of. I left the country with a handful of cassette releases and worked my way through their material deliberately, because APATIA isn’t really the kind of band you just put on and rage. The context, the time, the band…it’s the combination of everything that makes them work, and that’s abundantly clear in the Refuse Records reissue of their second demo from 1991. Much like many of the more genre-pushing DIY hardcore bands in the North American 1990s, they covered a ton of sonic territory, especially on their later releases, and hearing them forge those paths on these early recordings is excellent. A complete divergence from the “known” punk bands that came a few years before them, APATIA bypass traditional anthemic punk completely, opting for tough and determined hardcore mixed with a quirky originality that would have found them right at home on US labels like Very Small (the epic “Duma i Pycha +… Ciągłe Pytania” could practically be a PLAID RETINA outtake). The songs are great, and the songs are interesting, but really it’s the “where” and the “when” that makes the document mandatory—because while few bands sounded like this then, no one sounded like this there then. And Poland listened, through at least seven albums and a slew of live tapes and demos, Poland listened and Polish punks paid attention. You should pay attention, too—history is fucking important.

Apatia Bóg, Honor, Ojczyzna Faszyzm LP

The music on APATIA’s 1992 debut varies a bit within its HC/punk framework. While the drums beat an even pace, the guitarist plays palm-muted riffs, conventional leads, or dissonant, almost math-rock scales along with the standard three distorted chords. They can also quiet down while the bass and drums lead. The band is innovative while remaining faithful to the genre. Unfortunately, the songs don’t always tie these different sounds together. They can sound like parts of altogether different songs spliced into one. But APATIA on record are an otherwise tight unit, even when their musical ambitions get ahead of them.