Review Summary: When a new Departures record is everything you wanted
Sophomore albums are really hard to pull off. You put your heart and soul into your debut album which was probably written over a period of many years, and the second it comes out the record label wants you to do it all over again in one to two years. It's very easy to put out an inferior product the second time around which is usually known as the sophomore slump. From Cam Newton to The Killers, a lot of dudes just don't have enough juice for more than one effort. Thankfully this is not the case for Departures, whose second album Teenage Haze
is superior in every way to their debut.
Not to say Teenage Haze
is better than When Everything Is Everything You Wanted.
It may have better vocals, guitars, and drums, but it doesn't have the wow factor that the first album had. That first Departures album came out of nowhere and blew up the hardcore scene just at the right time when Defeater were sophomore slumping, and it came as a breathe of fresh air to a scene that was quickly becoming stale. Teenage Haze
is more consistent than the debut, but it also has fewer stand out moments. Teenage Haze
is almost too consistent in a way that prevents it from having a lot of outstanding moments. It does have a few though: from the snare roll at the end of "Drained Out," to the pounding drums that lead to a beautiful arpeggio riff in "Making Maps," to ***ing all of "21" and "Those Miles Meant Everything," Teenage Haze
stands out just enough to avoid becoming stale.
With More Than Life's future in doubt, Departures are pretty much ruling the UK hardcore scene right now and it's easy to see why with the band's ability to meld subtle but always satisfying melodic guitar work with tortured high pitched vocals and lyrics. In just two years the Scottish melodic hardcore outfit has put out two incredible records, and I expect them to have a very bright future coming out of their teenage haze.