Dublin 1978 - 1983
Donald Coughlan Vocals & Guitar
John Redmond Keyboards
Andrew Martin Bass
Keith Edgley Drums
The Departure play mostly support slots to the more established bands around town which means that often they are forced to rely on the mercy of other people’s sound systems, and sound engineers, to protect the integrity of the delivery and presentation of their innermost musical foibles. Despite this fact, they still, on occasion, manage to sound most impressive, especially to those pop pickers with an ear for fancy keyboards dities in the grand old vaudevillian tradition of XTC, Magazine and, in particularly, those beatific campaigners of the League of Decency, the Stranglers. Comparisons with these giants of the English stage are inevitable but by no means derogatory – it just means that the group themselves are still within their formative period, a phase often used by rock reviewers to describe a band for which they can think of no adequate description. They’re also very shy, and all look like they’re just recovered from a rough night at the local tennis club hop – where their loved ones deserted them to the lilting strains of the theme from “Enter the 7 Virgins”. A commendable attribute in this age of soporific cynicism. Ferdia MacAnna.
During their life time, The Departure changed bassists maybe two or three times Andrew Martin & Declan Lucas both playing with the band, Declan replaced Andrew. Keith Edgley another former Mountemple pupil had formerly been in "Frankie Corpse & The Undertakers & The Fast".
21/06/1980 Downtown Kampus, Cork with D.C. Nien
15/10/1980 Ivy Rooms, Dublin
29/10/1980 Ivy Rooms, Dublin
05/11/1980 Ivy Rooms, Dublin
13/11/1980 Ivy Rooms, Dublin
20/11/1980 Ivy Rooms, Dublin
22/11/1980 Crofton Airport Hotel, Dublin with The Blades
The Departure had a residency in the Ivy Rooms in O'Brian's Hotel from October 1980 until May 1981. They also had a Saturday afternoon residency in Toners during January 1981.
24/01/1981 McGonagles, Dublin
04/04/1981 Boddis, Dublin with Envy & Soul Mates
17/04/1981 McGonagles, Dublin
Not quite exploding across my kitchen, they at least made me ruffle the pillows of my bed. The Departure are a big surprise, their pop is individual and striking, if not yet quite ready to be served in the best restaurants. This demo contains four tracks recorded in various studios at various times within the last sevens months. The level of instrumental ability is high, yet it never takes over from the group, the emphasis being on interplay rather than solo heroics (though Johnny Redmond’s keyboards are the most forward element of the sound) and there are moments of real excellence: the guitar mix on “Sailings On Sunday”, the organ grinder’s monkey tricks, the
hilariously Ramonic drum break in “Stop!” and the swelling, Police – ish touch of bass and guitar that creeps into “Convoy”.
The main questions lie with the songwriting standard. “Sailings On Sunday” (recorded in Slane Studios, September 1980) and “Stop!” (Setanta Studios, November 1980) are both excellent, but the two more recent songs, “Convoy” and “Nuclear Song” (both recorded in Central Sound Studio, January 1981) are melodically and lyrically weaker, though the song construction remains interesting. Also, the general tone of the demo is rather po faced, “Stop!” being the only track with any JUMP to it.
An interesting departure (oh, what a hopeless punster I am!), leave this group in the oven for another while, checking regularly. Neil McCormick
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