An Eclectic Electronica filled Alt-Rock Tour-De-Force from Department M's debut
Gloriously inventive Synth-pop alt-rock from former GRAMMATICS MAN hits all the right notes.
Owen Brinley has had an interesting life as a Musician. Between his restless work in and around the West Yorkshire area with various local acts he managed to hit a brief moment of sumptuous paydirt with the ridiculously sublime
GRAMMATICS releasing one of the UK's strongest - yet subsequently most under-rated - debut albums. He toured the UK and Europe and further ashore and wrote some incredible music that is doted upon and loved by some seriously die-hard fans. He is also a sufferer of Tinnitus, a victim of some frequencies literally wiping out his hearing, and affecting his ability as a member of Grammatics, as a producer and as a sound engineer. Some people would have shattered and fallen apart at such horrendous occupational Hazard as hearing loss - indeed, being surrounded at every turn by friends who are musicians, signed and unsigned - the biggest side effect of being in a band is a lot of spooked out friends obsessing over their hearing and protecting their greatest asset. Owen took what could have been a career-destroying ailment and turned it instead into a route to a new vein of invention and creativity forming Department M and striking out in an entirely new direction to recreate himself in a whole new world, still harking back to his past achievements and glories, but redefining what he is as a musician.
DEPARTMENT M is a startlingly fresh, yet gloriously decadent and brilliantly retro sounding, new project that incorporates synths and keys as a primary weapon of attack, sequenced drums and bass mingle with Keyboards and synthed up Roland sounds that are a nod to 80's staples like Ultravox and New order - yet so achingly pointed at the future and a wide new horizon... Its a dazzling array of Art-Pop, Alt-Rock and electronica - that you are dragged kicking and screaming into a neon lit vista occupied by towering skyscrapers and cityscapes that glow with fire and doom that you are sure you are riding a skimmer from
BLADE RUNNER straight into the Tyrell Corporations NEXUS plaza to see the new line of replicants unboxed. Songs like
I'LL FAX YOU AN APOLOGY have echoes and shades of Vangelis seeping throughout, Vocals are dark, brooding slabs of graceful doom - a misery permeates each song, but it is displayed and dressed in such beautiful clothes you cannot help but fall for its brooding angles and edges.
J-HOP is a rolling thunderstorm of a song, with such brilliant lyrical ticks and turns it is easily the albums stand out and beating heart - a sequenced drum beat mixes with synths that sound like a flatlining robot being saved by cataclysmic surgery, the vocals are an aching burning question of "
If i can keep you closer?" - a question that is never finished, before a quite incredible Saxophone solo explodes in the final third of the song.
MISCELLANY is a breath of fresh air, a project that is full to bursting with passion, thought, intelligence and craft - Produced as a studio album, it is
thankfully now a live beast as well and it is a hugely entertaining, thrilling piece of art. Music can be many things to many people, but when it is this well thought out - so touching, so emotive and so full of life - it can literally change lives. Owen Brinley should be incredibly proud of this baby he has brought into the world, Department M are astounding and easily one of the brightest new UK bands we have. Long may they continue to make music this provoking and stirring. An unequivocal two thumbs up. 9/10