REVIEW: The Dear And Departed – Every Waking Moment

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Artist: The Dear & Departed
Album: Every Waking Moment
Genre: New Wave/Goth Rock
Label: Equal Vision Records

Everyone remembers their first favorite band, that one band marked a monumental occasion in every young music-lover’s life, a moment so important that from that point on, no matter how someone’s taste evolves, or how old they get, they will always remember that first band that made such a profound impact on them. Ask anyone what their current favorite band is, and they’re going to stutter and stammer, before muttering a band name with no confidence whatsoever, but no one ever hesitates to name that first band. For me, it was A.F.I., I got into them back when I was about 10 years old, after they released Black Sails In The Sunset, right in their prime, luckily enough for me. But since then, I hate to admit that they sort of lost their way, they’ve been around for a very long time, and have progressed flawlessly through so many genre changes, but unfortunately that last one just didn’t really work out for them. It was like the band came across a Joy Division album, and decided they wanted to sound like that instead, but the end result just wasn’t really the same. At the time I just assumed they had attempted something that was better left alone; Joy Division always seemed like one of those bands that people just shouldn’t try to replicate, and dismissed it as a mistake, and moved on. But then I heard the new album from The Dear & Departed, Every Waking Moment, which showcased that legendary blend of new wave and goth rock, that most bands could just never touch.

Of course, I felt that this initial subconscious leap I had made was nothing short of blasphemy, A.F.I. were the ones that started it all for me, and here I was admitting that they had been outdone by a band that first gained exposure because one of the members was on LA Ink. Not only that, but I felt as though it was a superb reincarnation of a long since extinct genre. I figured I must have lost my mind. There are so many factors working against The Dear & Departed here, it’s just something that shouldn’t work out the way it did. Bands that are this good aren’t supposed to see any mainstream promotional aid from a cable television show about the hidden meanings of people’s tattoos. I suppose I was being too pessimistic though, or too unwilling to give credit where credit is due. Because despite how much the concept baffled me, my initial assumptions were very much correct. I extend endless apologizes to the 13 year old me, shopping for Vans and black jeans at Hot Topic. It had to end one day, kid.

But all bitterness aside, I have simply have to admit that The Dear & Departed have managed to come out of absolutely nowhere, and reinvent the gothic new wave genre, a genre which has been effectively dead for years, been waiting for a suitable heir to the throne. The quality of this album is impossible to ignore, right from the get go, thanks to the opening track, “One In A Million”, which is an excellent dark new wave track that could single handedly rejuvenate this genre that has essentially remained dormant for so long. Although, I must say, there are a few moments of weakness, at times the music just comes off as a bit too cheesy, such as the lyrics in the chorus on “Better Late Than Never”, though the rest of the song is quite good, the cheese factor in the lyrics to that particular chorus is just glaringly obvious. But that’s not too much of a surprise, part of the charm of new wave music is it’s inherent cheesiness, so a couple moments that are a bit over ambitious are to be expected.

I suppose that in the end, not all artistic ventures can prove successful; some will make it, and some wont, and such is just the way of life. And while A.F.I. probably saw their prime pass long ago, it’s nice to know that the cycle will always continue on. Taking on a genre as intricate and tricky as this sort of gothic new wave that hasn’t really been touched since Joy Division is a very brave thing to do, and being able to pull it off as well as The Dear & Departed have accomplished on Every Waking Moment is beyond impressive.

8/10
Reviewed by: Mike Hogan

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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