The Departure - 53 Degrees Preston - 15.9.07

One of the most vibrant, exciting and thrilling bands to emerge in 2004 were Northampton's The Departure. Their performance at that years Carling Festival was easily one of the most memorable. After releasing their debut album "Dirty Words" line up changes occurred and songs were scrapped but with an albums worth of material now finally recorded at Grouse Lodge Studios in Ireland they're back with a vengeance. With that in mind its sad to report that the fans haven't followed suit. The venue has a capacity of 400 but there's barely 40 people here tonight which means there's 10 free 7" vinyl singles left as the first fifty people to arrive received a free copy.

Frontman David Jones with his retro 70s leather jacket is one cool customer. He has nothing to prove or the need to impress. The music, performance and delivery is so confident and well rehearsed without sounding too polished or super slick. "Be My Enemy" has a classic slice of rock, raw and urgent with the bass high in the mix. Jones looks round and makes eye contact with the small crowd and seems impressed by the reaction.

The hard working and dedicated musicians create a sweeping, epic sound with the older songs reminiscent of 80s bands like Echo & the Bunnymen and Simple Minds. "Young And Clever adds to the catalogue with its supreme melodic splendour, but it breaks our heart that such life affirming music is heard by so few when less talented bands than the Departure achieve mainstream success so easily. That could all change when the new album is released.

"Lump In My Throat" is our own personal favourite, a powerful pulsating song. There's no encore but coming back on to play another song is such a predictable and safe approach, two words which could never describe the majestic live experience of the Departure

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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