The FREQUENCY-IRELAND Music Alternative

An independent voice on choice sounds from the alternative/underground music scene in Ireland.
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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Star Department - Auditions

The Star Department, who released quite an outstanding debut EP last year in Flickering Lights, release their new mini-album Auditions this March on CableAttack Records. I've been listening through the album the past few weeks, and enjoying the indulgence, looking forward to writing something about it.

Again, we have a fractured gem of near highest quality, or an album of fractured gems, depending on which way you want to look at it. In typical Star Department fashion, tracks are spread further within themselves than they are to each other. From the outset in 'The Morning After' we are presented with vague aching bewilderments that run as a theme through a lot of the EP "well if you don’t need that, then you don't anything, but everybody needs something". With the Star Department you get an emotive indie backbone, but layered with shoegaze shimmerings, and while each track is quite impressively unstructured, and fractured into itself, they tend to flow into each other quite seamlessly. It would seem at first that the second track 'Sandcastles' attempts to shift the tone, introducing itself with a positively uplifting melody, but the true story lies in the lyric and vocals "you might as well let go of this" "like an old man kicking over sandcastles as the child drowns in the sea, just be stronger, make it easier and let go" "its not natural". The melody is there as a taunting reflection of the past, the mood more one of uncomfortable compassion. In 'Time Passes' we get another track which works its way under the skin with suggestion "wipe yourself off the floor" "you walk sideways and your dreams you can keep", while in 'The Sky Will Fall' we have a track bursting with emotional draw of an impending sense of past catching up despite regrets. Fifth track 'Palettes' opens with a sparse melody, suggesting a moment of clarity, but embroiled with a caution that "matchstick man will burn you again, a desperate man, works in desperate ways" it becomes clearer that this album surrounds a lot of darkness despite being one that will more than likely be embraced by most who hear it. A lot of people won't fully get it. Most people won't need to. On the surface, The Start Department offer quite a brilliant sonic and emotive outlay of unstructured indie-shoegaze crossover forays, and it's difficult not to fall into its charm. Underneath it all, themes run quite a bit deeper.

Tracks from the mini-album can be streamed from their myspace, where the track 'Embers' from last year's EP can also still be downloaded.

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