This is the debut album by Irish atmospheric indie-pop duo The Star Department. The album has a mix of shoegaze and indie pop sounds, sounding like a more experimental version of Belle and Sebastian. There are some beautiful sounds across the album, however the added experimentation is a bit hit in miss. When it hits it’s absolutely amazing! When it doesn’t it gets rather confused and messy and on a few occasions I had to check that I didn’t somehow have two things playing at once.
Antlers is a bright and colourful, off beat pop tune sounding like ABBA crossed with Fleetwood mac. The bright poppy vibe creates a vibrant atmosphere while the experimental, almost psychedelic, tunes give it a curious edge that allows the song to be both infectious and strangely intriguing.
Superhawk is a hazy indie pop offering. There is sweet hooks that draw you in combined with a curious shoegazy fog floating along.
Early morning runner is a major highlight to the album and actually did remind me of my early morning runs. The slow vibes on top fees like the sun is gradually rising with the dark surroundings gradually becoming light.
The Ship wont sail is a dark sombre tune with a subtle psychedelic twist. The music creates a curious fading atmosphere making you feel like you are sailing as the sun is setting with darkness slowly taking over.
All of the signs is a cold and melancholy offering. The different elements are stripped back a little to provide a minimalist subtle sound. The result is beautiful and stands out as one of the stronger tracks.
Porcelain Doll sounds like an industrial remix of the Flaming Lips. Harsh droney sounds drag in a gritty textual atmosphere, offset by sweet off beat indie rock tunes. Each element is good in its own right but doesn’t quite meld as well as it should.
Sandcastle has a lot of potential with sweet notes and great vocal effects. The trouble is it feels over produced with so much experimentation put over it to the extend that the beauty of the song becomes a little squashed.
All of my best friends has some lovely sounds to it, however the mixing of different effects don’t quite fit together making it feel a little awkward and confused.
Overall this is a very promising album that shows off some great talent and beautiful sounds. The band are clearly not afraid of trying different things and experimenting with their sound. Sadly in some cases it doesn’t quite work and becomes a bit of a mess. When they do get it right, however, it sounds amazing!
Check out The Star Department’s webpage to find out more!