The Departure - Night & Day Cafe - 17.10.04

Like all the best bands The Departure are built around a formidable rhythm section. Ben Winton (bass) and Andy Hobson (Drums) are a Funk Brothers for the new millennium. The beats so tight and relentless they put most dance bands to shame, whilst Ben's the most effortlessly cool bass player since Alex James from Blur.

To look at The Departure are the essence of 80s new romantic cool. With the unwritten rule that "trainers are for running in, not for playing guitars in" they take an anti leisure wear aesthetic and come across as handsome Victorian Dandys that Oscar Wilde would spend hours lusting over and inspire him to write endless poems about the love that shall never mention its name . And all this from a band fronted by David Jones, a man who didn't leave a Christian Commune till the age of 16.

If you've heard the singles you already know what to expect. "Be My Enemy" starts off sounding like a 3 year old child bashing pan lids in the kitchen while the babysitter's upstairs servicing the milkman. 4 seconds in and a unforgettable surf guitar line comes in straight out of an unreleased Quentin Tarrantino movie. Just after the 30 second mark it morphs yet again into the perfect synthesis between Duran Duran and Franz Ferdinand. Single of the year by a mile and try to deny it as you're humming it till your grave. "All Mapped Out" sounds even tighter with it's angular guitar riffs and Ian Curtis-esque cries.

The live shows are a revelation and while the reference points are obvious, melted together the sound of the Departure is most definitely their own. "I Am Only Human", "Just Like TV" and "Changing Worlds" already sound like future singles from a greatest hits collection and from a band that formed in January this year it's a enviable position to be in.

Word & Pictures: Alex McCann


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