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Departure Lounge

This is one of those pleasant surprise discs that I just happened to run across and it ended up being something that filled in just a slight niche in my collection and made me happen I'd taken a chance on it. Many times, when I'm looking for music in stores, I'll scour the markdown bins in hopes of finding something neat, and for some reason this disc stuck out at me. After looking at the liner notes and seeing that both Simon Raymonde (of the Cocteau Twins) and Kid Loco had contributed remixes, I decided it was worth the paltry amount the store wanted for it and took it home.

After just a couple tracks, I knew I'd scored. It wasn't that the group was doing anything groundbreakingly different than anyone else, but like many other groups out there, they managed to do it well. Formerly known as Tim Keegan & The Homer Lounge, the group plays pretty loose groove pop songs with sometimes sliding guitars that meander and drift along and recall everything from quiet moments of the group Blur to touches of James and even elements of groups like Salako. Their sound actually fits their name pretty well and while they don't actually stray into lounge territory, most of the music on this release will make you feel like kicking your feet up and relaxing in the sun.

After a short and somewhat misleading intro track called "El Intro" (in which the group conjures up images of a dreary spaghetti western), they shake things off for the twinkling and very pretty second track entitled "Music For Pleasure." They don't really do anything out-of-the-ordinary on the track, but the sing-song male/female lyrics and cascades of keyboard chimes give the track an infectious sound that sounds like Looper without the loops. After a few more mellow vocal tracks, the group goes into instrumental territory with the aptly titled, "Spaceport." While the song structure doesn't sound too far off from what Tristeza might do, the keyboards go absolutely interstellar and feel even more tripped out over the rumbling rhythm section.

The following track "Johnny A" is remixed by aforementioned Raymonde and he adds some guitar work to the track as well, making it feel a little more lively (which is kind of surprising given the work he did with his former group) than most of the other tracks on the disc. "Late Night Drive" is another great instrumental by the group (that works more of a spy-groove theme) while the remix of "Disconnected" by Kid Loco feels like it could have come straight from his The Jesus Life For Children Under 12 Inches album with its smooth beat and faux string samples.

Before closing out with two more dusty, cinematic tracks, they wind things down with a quiet track called "They Don't Know." With whispered vocals, a quiet strum of electric guitar, and some sonar blip keyboards, it's basically another twist on the sensitive ballad track and your response to it will depend on how cynical you're feeling at the time. Either way, though, it's kind of lo-fi sounding and pretty nice. "Nice" is really a pretty good word to describe the whole album. There's nothing overwhelming or loud on it and while nothing is particularly innovative, it's pretty darn solid and a nice listen. Mellow pop with a bit of nice atmospherics, I can dig it.

Rating: 6.75