Departure Lounge

Out of There

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London, England's own Departure Lounge seems to be jumping the bandwagon of popular four-piece harmonies. Barenaked Ladies are famous for their bubbly personas, and Departure Lounge attempts to include themselves to such musical simplicity on their debut release Out of There. Frontman/guitarist Tim Keegan's soft vocals are coyly similar to Robyn Hitchcock, and brooding lyrical cries mimic Morrissey's heartfelt excursions. But Departure Lounge want to do it their own way. These guys are multi-instrumentalists, yet call for mixing assistance from Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde and French DJ Kid Loco. Experimentation is everything. "Music for Pleasure" showcases Keegan's angelic hushing tone, but it is "The New You" that captures the band's wishful effort in sounding like current Britpop colleagues such as Travis, Stereophonics, or Blur. Sounds of classic '60s pop's sheer and synth beats swoon like Stereolab's signature moog smile. The spacadelic instrumental "Starport" frolics with twinkling keyboards, but the rhythmic "Stay on the Line" is lyrically weak. Lacking spark and originality, it is reminiscent of a nursery rhyme. They turn to Kirsty MacColl's "They Don't Know" to revive themselves from pop monotony. Tracy Ullman's 1983 version was humorous, but Departure Lounge's take is a bit depressing. Experimentation is indeed everything, and Departure Lounge strives so hard, but no avail. Four-part harmonies are a bit overdone in this case.

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