Review: Departures/Moose Blood – Split [EP]

Two of the UK’s most exciting up and coming bands, Departures and Moose Blood, have got together to record a split record, due to be released on 12 November through Fist in the Air and No Sleep Records. Showcasing two tracks apiece, this split shows off the best bits that each band has to offer. With the hardcore aggression bounding out of Departures and an unashamedly emo delivery from Moose Blood, the record makes welcome listening for alternative fans.

The first two tracks come from Departures and in first track, ‘A Song For The Sunset’, the Scottish lads show off a strong drum presence, which is always a good sign, as it swings into life with sweet riffs and harsh vocals. The song manages to assault listeners while also taking time to slow the song in parts, if only for a while, before kicking back aggressively with their hardcore beats and riffs. The slower sections are good not only to show off a diversity of styles, but also to give centre stage to the vocals which really get the chance to stand out while the drum beat and guitars mellow.

Second track, ‘Closing Doors’, features a slower, rhythmic and guitar dominated opening, before the vocals again have their chance to stand at the front of the musical charge. “I can’t be running away, if there’s nowhere left to run to”; the emotively screamed vocals are charged full of belligerence and hostility, but they can’t take all of the credit – even though their role is at times subsidiary, the drums and guitars perfectly compliment the atmosphere created by the vocals and make the track an angst-filled joy to listen to.

The differences between the two bands can be seen in Moose Blood’s first feature on the record, ‘Stay Here’. The vocals are not as coarse, but this gives the harsher sounds, when they are brought to the fore, all the more effective. There is a slow and steady instrumental rhythm filling the background, but also some welcome guitar dominated moments, displaying an ease as a band, allowing the music to speak for itself in instrumentally driven sections.

‘Girl’ is the final track we are treated to and has become my personal favourite. It creeps to life, easing in at a very slow pace. We are left with a lone guitar and vocals, with the guitar more in the fore as the vocals come through in the background, crooning quietly over a girl “you are the best thing darling, this side of town”. This is all true until the 1.47min-ish mark when it kicks into a new lease of life. The vocals are stronger; backing vocals are repetitively chanted as the drums and more guitars pick the song up and throw it to a crescendo, asking an anonymous girl to spend the night: “Stay with me tonight, stay with me tonight”.

Two fantastic songs a-piece for two fantastic up-and-coming bands. The chance to see these playing live together shouldn’t be missed and they play several shows together at the beginning of November. If you can get to see them, then REPRESENT! Don’t miss this chance.

4 out of 5 high fives!

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