Departure - Review
This is the first introduction I had to this band and was immediately impressed when I first put this album on. This album happens to be their sophomore work after their 2003 release Storm. This disc contains eleven heavy synthpop tracks that emphasize the solid dance beat and deep, heavy synths with melodic vocals.
From the very first note of "Sea of Stars" I knew this track was going to be a favorite. It's melancholy in nature as the first notes are played and then the vocoded introductory vocals kick in and it's all uphill from there as everything is combined for a moving, fun dance track. The driving synths and moving beats keep on going with the following track "Leaving earth". The vocals stretch slightly to the higher notes at first, but during the chorus they relax don't distract from the driving music for another excellent piece. Some great experimentation comes out in "Guardian", while not distracting, it's still interesting in the way the slight distortion of the vocals is used to start the track and some distortion in the beats and some synths, but overall the power in the vocals and solid underlying music become the strength of this piece. "Orbit" picks up where "Leaving earth" left off with the higher vocals over the powerful music. At this point we're launched into a wild onslaught of the instrumental piece "Airborn". This provides something of a distraction, or can be quite distracting from the rest of the album, depending on the listener's personal tastes.
After "Airborn", just about anything not quite so wild is welcome at this point and "Every moment" goes beyond the call to bring things back in line. This piece brings a little different overall feeling to the forefront with some "happy" synth loops that you might expect from an electro-clash track, but it doesn't quite go that far, still remaining true to their own style. "Run to you" brings us back to something a little more emotional and melancholy and turns on the adrenaline as the synths and beat kick in. This fades and builds right up into a similar piece in the form of "Echoes" with the difference of the vocals settling down into a monotonous dirge on each verse with a melodic chorus picking it back up again in between. "Go64" brings out the entire theme behind the name of this band with old-computer game sounds (ie. Commodore 64), plenty of bleeps and analog synths to please the hardest hard-core fan. As an instrumental piece, this one doesn't blow your mind, it's actually kind of fun in many ways, although after listening to it several times the novelty wears off and I have to get back to the smooth synth sounds of the last two tracks.
"Carry me home" is the only downtempo piece on this album and reminds me of "Yazoo" with their slower pieces (nothing like "Winter Kills", but you get the picture). This brings us to the finale to the album which is another great dance-friendly piece. While not as heavy as others on the disc, it maintains a solid dance beat, some cool synth loops, including a few computer bleeps and sounds and of course, some nice melodic synthpop-friendly vocals.
The overall theme of the album Departure is maintained well, not only through just the names of each track "Leaving earth", "Orbit", "Airborn", etc., but also within the lyrics and musical style that gives is an astronomical and futuristic quality to it. This is a great album that I can easily recommend to synthpop fans, be sure to pick it up!
Label: A Different Drum