Review Summary: Though lacking some substance, Departures proves worthwhile by delivering a rich sense of visualization and emotional appeal.
In simplest terms, listening to Departures
is cinematic. It is a summer breeze and a winter snowfall. Assertive and undoubtedly focused, solo artist Jerome Alexander’s debut album is one of high stature. Here Message to Bears
operates subtly and with determination, drawing upon simple and delicate motifs to craft an album of emotional pulls. Through ten compositions, Departures
explores some of the most fragile musical territories, firmly clinging in the back of the listener’s mind by the conclusion. The final result is an album which develops like a series of paintings.
Completely instrumental, Departures
must communicate itself solely on the strength of its composition. Nevertheless, sparse vocal tracks, used more as a texture than a crux for storytelling, breathe a satisfying level of depth and personality into the music. Though no words are spoken, these soft melodies often repeat like a string section, swelling gracefully on songs such as Autumn
and Find Our Way Home.
The titles of such songs provide an unexpected heft of visual representation, conjuring vivid images of nature such as a frost-covered meadow in late autumn or gentle drops of dew falling from treetops.
Message to Bears
encourages the listener to develop their own personal meaning. It is this empathizing which makes Departures
so satisfyingly memorable. Like a pleasant memory, it slumbers in the listener’s mind until desired once more, best to be remembered as a whole rather than individual episodes. Still, specific parts do present themselves as particularly compelling, most notably the lush crescendos and trills of violins in Hope
, and the delicate piano in November
which effuses rich personality. Though it fails to establish a notable identity and some parts do bleed into one another, Departures
presents itself as a singular, personable concept.
Alexander’s debut creeps so delicately into the minds of its listeners, encouraging creative thought and developing a message starting with so little. It relies on the strengths of its subtleties and personality, flowing in a concise and intelligent fashion. Here Jerome Alexander leaves a niche in the back of the listeners mind as reassuring as leaves falling in autumn.