The Departure - Dirty Words

"Dirty Words" is proof that The Departure are not an ordinary band. Debut albums are normally a raw look at a bands work in progress, often promising great things for the future, but lacking a certain something. The Departure, a band who were signed to Parlophone 6 months after forming may just have released an album so perfect it would be churlish to try and follow it up.

From the opener "Just Like TV" is shimmers and glitters like all great pop records should. The Departure deliver pop music with a capital P and although they combine The Orb's spacial ambience, U2's epic effects laden guitar riffs, a Motown influenced rhythm section and lyrics straight out of David Bowie's Greatest Hit's collection it's still reassuringly pop. Even when Jones sinister spits out "You've found an easy way in, go find another way out" you can almost imagine a naff 80s TOTP audience punching their fists in the air not quite sure what to make of these robotic pop messiahs.

"Talkshow" delivers a series of Trisha slogans twisted to a situationist manifesto over a hi-energy funk track that leads into an off-kilter guitar solo with a Gang Of Four post-punk energy, It's completely impossible to talk about the Departure in terms of a handful of influences because each song if wrapped up with so many contrasting directions and ideas that they take on a mind of their own. Even the most overtly pop moment "Only Human" manages to mix up the most infectious bass line since Billie Jean with the chiming guitar riffs of Johnny Marr with a refrain of "we all have needs" which sounds like a desperate cry of a serial killers last words.

"Arms Around Me" is an arms aloft indie disco classic for people in duffel coats who can't dance, before they're seduced with "Don't Come Any Closer" sounds like Blondie jamming with the Slits. The latter all chopped up guitar stabs and cod-white boy reggae with a driving rhythm section. "Changing Pilots" is built around a repetitive never ending bass line that seduces, pulls you in and hypnotizes you into a safe place before suddenly slapping you around the face with a raw primitive call of "The thought of being lonely" shouted in your face to shock you back to reality.

The singles "All Mapped Out", "Lump In My Throat" and "Be My Enemy" don't even hint at the genius of "Dirty Words". Parlophone have a history of developing acts such as Blur and Idlewild so it's highly likely that album number 2 will propel them in a completely new direction and onto further mainstream success, but whether they can truly follow up this all too perfect debut remains to be seen.

Alex McCann

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