Departures - Without Fear (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Without Fear (2011)


One of the worst things a band can do is sound too modern–well, I guess if you want to get popular quickly, then it's probably the only thing you can do. But those with artistic integrity know that relevance alone doesn't equate good music, and in almost every instance, the trappings of musical modernity only composes vapid products. This is the precisely the case for northern New Jersey's Departures: While the songs on their EP, Without Fear, aren't poorly written, they leave me thinking "so what?"

The weakest link is the vocalist. His grating and nasally register is reminiscent of every pop-punk frontman you hear in a Hot Topic. His execution isn't very diverse and it's all a tad overwhelming. I can imagine he'd really lose his breath live, because there's no filter for melody–just that constant attack of singing that passes for "catchy" these days.

It's disappointing considering the music, per se, isn't that bad. They recorded at Nada Studios with an engineer who was responsible for the likes of Polar Bear Club and Brand New's Your Favorite Weapon. Throughout Without Fear, a lot of the twinkling leads seem to come straight from the The Redder, The Better handbook, along with corresponding guitar effects. Similarly, they conclude their effort with an Explosions in the Sky-esque number, much like the PBC demo. Unfortunately, it doesn't really develop as much as it could.

Departures could do some fine-tuning...maybe utilize the yell a bit more than they do. I don't know–I can't think of a reason why a fan of this style of music would chose this over others.