“DD Review: Howell – Departure.”

Score: 5/10


Here is one thing you can’t accuse Howell of: being overhyped. Actually, that first sentence is usually where I’d state the band’s hometown or geographical region, but I literally could not even find THAT much documented about this band online.
The first impression of their sound I gather is that it’s definitely emo: think the soft, rounded production of Third Eye Blind but a singer, obviously, much less the bona fide Frisco beat poet and more the pretty-boy wonder, prone to overacting in what’s really just like a hilariously quintessentially emo sort of way. It’s like hey guys, 2004 called and they want their music back! Anyway, whoever this producer is, he’s done a fine mixing job and he knows his way around a modified snare.
So why doesn’t this stuff pi** me off? He**, I dunno. Or I don’t WANNA know. Maybe it’s the lack of hype, maybe it’s the fact that they have the apparent artistic genuineness to only issue an EP when they only tote 20 minutes worth of inspiration in their “muses,” or “muse.” Also, they seem capable of writing a song from without the stink of someone else’s underwear. Yup, that must be it.
“Motion Pictures” captures the horror of paranoia and anxiety with decent believability and chutzpah. “Scenery,” then, after reminding me refreshingly of Real Estate for about two seconds (before the dude’s whiny voice comes back in), displays some pretty considerable riffing and roaring, and a drummer who sounds like he could be in a grindcore band if he wanted, one with way fewer melodies and chord changes, obviously, than Howell have in tow.
By “Too Late,” Departure will scream “Midtown” from the rooftops like it’s having a fit of Tourette’s. Actually, this could be the Midtown guys’ sons or nephews and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised… although I don’t know, I’d lay any bet they’re from Jersey. “Too Late,” though, keeps Departure noticeably listenable, crafting just enough tense, uneasy SPACE, like that unwanted next moment we thought we were prepared for, but which wasn’t prepared for US. With this being said, it will be interesting to see if this band continues in this direction (“Too Late” breaks down into a metal bonanza about a minute and a half in, while the quiet part toward the beginning reminded me of jazz)… such a prog card in their pocket could definitely pay dividends with just a little more of a layered songwriting vision.

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