Genre: Alternative, Rock, Pop
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
For fans of: Silverstein, Saosin, Green Day, Sum 41, Bayside.
Alternative rockers The Departure are a beastly crew of musicians from the SLC whose talents put them in the upper crust of the unsigned bands wielding the potential to become the “next big thing” in the rock genre. Their latest EP release, Gateways, is a compilation of rock smashes that cuts through the bloat we’ve seen since the internet made it super cool to be an indie band.
LYRICALLY: The lyrics are good, but it is the melodies that bring the meanings to life in each song. Some songwriters are just incredible at crafting stories that listeners can instantly connect with regardless of the melodies; we call them poets – like Bob Dylan. While others are like The Departure, where the songwriting is just okay, but the melodies are so dang catchy that you can’t help but pay attention to what they are saying. So, while the lyrics are not the greatest, the song melodies are superb and help to breathe life into the words.
MUSICALLY: Here’s where Gateways really shines. This band is an alternative rock juggernaut whose powerful and fearless approach to shredding their guitar strings will make just about any true alternative rock fan stand at attention. The boldness shown by The Departure rivals that of top bands like Green Day and Sum 41 who have firmly planted themselves into the soil of rock and roll history. The Departure spins out of control at times, but in a good way. One listen to songs like “Incompetence”, “Forget Everything”, and “Thoughts” and you will know that you’re not dealing with amateur musicians. Whether it’s the thunderous bass, ridiculous guitar play, or the stellar drumming, you’re bound to find something that just makes this EP worth buying, and the band worth seeing live.
VOCALLY: I am a massive fan of great singers and I found The Departure’s front man in this area, Ryan DeBlanc, to be “worthy” of my time. While there was nothing extraordinarily special about Ryan’s vocal performances on the EP, I did experience several “Oh, this kid can sing,” moments. The vocal delivery definitely helped pull me in when the melodies and lyrics weren’t hitting me as hard. But, because Ryan’s singing voice/tone and style of annunciation weren’t unique (I’ve heard this voice by about 40 other indie bands this year), I couldn’t score the vocals higher. I’d definitely advise Ryan to develop a unique style of vocal that sets him apart from the “typical” alternative rock singer.
Take a listen and see if you can dig what The Departure is throwing down on their Gateways EP. ⬇️