ICA, October 18th

The Departure's first major UK tour (with Clor as support) comes to a close at the ICA tonight, and it's obvious the headliners have learnt a lot in the short time since the first time I saw them at The Metro six weeks ago.

Back in September, having only heard "All Mapped Out" - a track decreed a stone cold classic on first listen - I was glad to find that they had plenty of other songs to play alongside it. However, whilst definitely not lacking in confidence, they seemed over eager to please, rattling through the songs, track tumbling after track, blurring into one great ball of noise, sweat and eyeliner. It was quite show, but I left with no real standout moments.

A month and a half later and we get another chance to check the out. But first up tonight it's Clor. Other than a couple of pretty dissapointing scratchy mp3s from their website I know next to nothing about them, but they turn out to be suprisingly good. It's not exactly easy listening, the high pitched vocal harmonies, complicated time-signatures, frantic fairground keyboard and chugging heavy guitars conjuring up the Cardiacs and, at times, Talking Heads, but it's pretty damn funky in a weird sort of way. Someone comments that they're quite scary - they may be demons (see the pictures)

Whilst there's nothing hugely different in The Departure's performance tonight, they're far more assured, almost cocky. Frontman David Jones prowls around the stage, weaving between the two guitarists and the bassist, coming to the front of the stage to deliver his deep, theatrical vocals. Musically, they're heavier as well. This might have something to do with the improved PA but they just look like they have more self belief and therefore, more to shout about.

As before I'm blown away by the rythmn section, especially Ben Winton's even tighter, funkier basslines. The scratchy, spiky dual-guitar attack is exceptionally sharp and totally in-your-face throughout.


There's something missing. As standalones, each track tonight is great, but as a whole set it lacks variety. Singles "All Mapped Out" and "Be My Enemy" get the best reaction, and are definitely the standouts. After the first few tracks it becomes clear that Departure have a blueprint and their sticking to it. Wether it's the blueprint for world domination we'll have to wait and see.

Richy [ October 19th, 2004 ]

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