Department M - The Second Prize (Too Pure)

Dave Reynolds sees serious potential in Department M’s latest single release

Released Jun 24th, 2013 via Too Pure / By Dave Reynolds
Department M - The Second Prize (Too Pure) With all the scurrilous activity that burdens the public sphere in these times, it seems wise to come clean straight off the bat. Owen Brindley, part of the creative force behind Department M, has been an active member of the Leeds music scene in the past. Brindley was involved in the bands Grammatics and The Colour of Fire, with Grammatics making a particularly fantastic racket, though parting company after one excellent LP full of brilliantly intricate and orchestral indie pop.

Department M sees Brindley and new company changing tack with regards to their genres of choice. In theory, it comes as part-reaction to Brindley now suffering from hyperacusis (an acute over-sensitivity to certain frequency ranges). This, in addition to tinnitus, thanks to many a night DJing. The reaction to it all has been to create a neo-industrial sound bursting with ideas and influences. But there’s no fear for them in looking backwards, with previous single ‘I’ll Fax You An Apology’ churning up analogue memories.

Department M’s latest release is the double A-side ‘The Second Prize’ / ‘Absentia’. ‘The Second Prize’ shrouds a poppy-electro core with mechanistic beats and bass alongside Brindley’s wistful lyrical style. The opening selection of keys sound as if they were sourced from a Windows ‘95 welcome screen – again, suggesting a playful mocking of our technological past. Yet, this is the nature of Department M’s music as a whole; a conflict between past and present colluding to create something inherently interesting. The funk-filled bass drives the track onto searing chorus and there are many strands of sounds coming together, but everything knows its place. ‘Absentia’ follows the same vein, although with a little less impact in its ways. It burns more slowly with frayed, off-kilter keys piercing through the solid structure of the percussion. If this form is anything to go by, we can expect good things from Department M in the months to come.