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IT - Departure CD (album) cover

DEPARTURE

IT

 

Neo-Prog

3.98 | 49 ratings

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The Doctor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is an album I've been enjoying quite a lot lately. The album presents a rather dark and spacey atmosphere, at times mellow, at times much more aggressive. In fact, there are lots of different styles present on the album, but the album's coherence does not suffer for its diversity of styles. One can detect a bit of Floyd in places, a bit of Porcupine Tree here and there, some alternative influences and maybe the occasional Crimson. But the influences do not dominate most of the album.

"God Is Dead" and "Killing Me" are both good pop songs. Tight and catchy, but without losing any intelligence for it. Both songs have been stuck in my head since I started listening to the album, but I haven't grown tired of hearing the songs after several listens. The title track, sandwiched between the two pop songs, is a more spacey affair, starting off with some very nice guitar and keyboard work, followed by a mellow vocal passage and then some heavy rhythm guitar to end the song. While not epic in length, it is one of the more epic sounding tracks on the album and could have easily been the middle part of a much more lengthy track. A very enjoyable 4 and a half minutes. "Car Crash" has some good acoustic rhythm guitar and spacey lead guitar and keyboard work.

"Fighting for Freedom" is my favorite song off the album and seems to be a fusion of country and metal. That may seem an unlikely combination but it works. "Burn", a song in two parts, shows Jackson at his most cynical. The first part of the song also has a bit of a country flavor thanks to a banjo and pedal steel guitar. The second part is a "photoshopped" Bush speech over some rather interesting instrumental work. It's really too bad they put the Bush speech over the top, because the instrumental work is quite nice and Bush's speaking over it is a bit distracting. Next up is "Safe", the only song on the album I consider truly derivative as it sounds like it could easily have been an outtake from In Absentia or Deadwing. However, what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in execution.

Next up is the two-part "Standback", a love song that in parts, especially the vocal parts during the verses, reminds me of the early 80's. Some more very good acoustic and lead guitar work here, especially the guitar solo in part 2 of the song. The final song on the album proper is "Disappear" another laid-back song that is a bit reminiscent of Floyd in parts.

My version comes with a bonus DVD which includes a video for "Killing Me" and a documentary/interview with the band. Also included is a rather short (under 30 minutes) but highly enjoyable live document. Would really like to see a full-length DVD in the future. Finally, the DVD contains three bonus tracks. The bonus tracks have a bit of a different feel than the album proper, possibly because the band's bassist in Canada (Craig West) wrote and sang two of the songs. On these three songs the Floyd influence is much more readily apparent, although I still wouldn't classify them as derivative. All three songs have a very spacey, sort of floating quality to them with the keyboards seeming more up-front in the mix and some very Gilmour-esque lead guitar in parts. Although for some reason West's voice reminds me a bit of Michael Stipe, which gives his songs a bit of an REM feel vocally. Of the three bonus tracks my favorite track is probably the final one "Taking on Sand".

This album gets a solid four stars from me. They may not always have the prog quotient cranked up to 10 here and sometimes the speeches over the instrumental parts can be distracting, but it's intelligent and enjoyable music that stands up to repeated listenings and has enough progginess to sink your teeth into. And many of the songs will be stuck in your head in no time. This comes highly recommended.

The Doctor | 4/5 |

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