London-based synth combo THE DEPARTMENT have a penchant for classic electro and new wave.

Led by Rob Green, he is backed ‘Some Bizzare Album’ veteran Cliff Chapman and Magnus Lindstrom, a member of MR JONES MACHINE who feature Jarmo Ollila from  DAILY PLANET among their number while live, there is the brand new addition of Pete Dolan.

The first long form release since 2015’s ‘Alpha’, their only album to date, the ‘Pressure’ EP is not exactly a cheerful affair with Green channelling his life experiences over the past four years, but it is danceable and synthy.

Clocking it at just over two and a half minutes, the Phillip Larkin inspired ‘This Be The Verse’ sees Green snarling “they f*ck you up your mum and dad… don’t have any kids yourself” over cinematic JX8P from Chapman; his frustration also makes its presence felt on ‘About A Boy’, a pulsing synthpop number wallowing in the lost innocence of youth

Meanwhile with some heavily fraught vocal expression, the dystopian anxiety of ‘Pressure’ vibes electronic darkness with Lindström hauntingly arpeggiating with his Waldorf Blofeld. ‘Throne Of Nothing’ throws a curveball having been written on guitar and documents the end of a friendship; an observation on how the strange phenomenon of deluded narcissism is now pathetically normal, it’s all set to the raincoated spectre of THE CURE.

The ‘Pressure’ EP sees THE DEPARTMENT imagining an alternate universe where acid house never happened and morbid gothic angst remained very much within the mainstream, along with pop music using synthesizers.

Sitting in nicely alongside darker gloomier electronic acts like BOY HARSHER, there’s a gloomy intensity which is fittingly reflective of the times, although this might not be everyone’s pint of snakebite…


‘Pressure’ is released by Hard Cell Records, available via the usual digital outlets and direct from https://hardcellrecords.bandcamp.com/album/pressure-ep

THE DEPARTMENT play Synth Wave Live 3 at Electrowerkz in London on Saturday 22nd June 2019, the line-up also includes B-MOVIE, JOHAN BAECKSTRÖM, EUGENE, LUCKYANDLOVE, CENTRE EXCUSE, YS ATLOV, LOW SEA + SOL FLARE – tickets available from https://www.wegottickets.com/event/461473

https://www.thedepartment-official.com

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Text by Chi Ming Lai
18th May 2019