The Star Department
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The Star Department

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | INDIE

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | INDIE
Band Alternative Pop

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Having impressed with their early demos, Dubliner's The Star Department managed to rope in legendary Low, Daniel Johnston and Lou Reed producer Kramer to mix and master this debut EP. Kramer adds eerie soundscapes throughout, though what's most interesting is the imaginative structure. The trio play with tempo shifts and sonic hooks at will. 'Embers' shines with a masterful melody, while 'Flickering Lights', with its sozzled vocal, just about works. Top it off with the fact they've been together less than a year and we have something very interesting to look forward to on future releases. - Hot Press


2012 could be a great year for music discovery, provided that I get an e-mail daily from bands who are making music like Dublin, Ireland band The Star Department. Their latest effort is the album The Pea Green Boat, which will be released this year and was mixed by David Brewis from Field Music. The first song we can hear from the record came out last month and is called “Antlers”. - Indie Music Filter


La joven banda de Dublin The Star Deparment publicará este año un nuevo disco que llevará el nombre de The Pea Green Boat. A juzgar por su primer adelanto, Antlers, la continuación del EP que publicaron en 2006 tiene muy buena pinta. Escuchen señores:
- Dod Magazine


During my short blogging absence (I mixed in a few posts here and there, but I took a nice little break from the grind over these past couple weeks), I was able to listen to music I’ve missed from 2011 and music I’ve missed from being a crazed music blogger in general. This entails music that meant a lot to me when I first started my current genre-listening habits.

Stepping back makes us realize why we start all this internet nonsense in the first place and what we try to keep telling ourselves. Nothing else in this world, except for that pit in your stomach of “being in love” (come on, you know it’s a pain, but a happy one…most of the time) truly makes us feel like music does when all is said and done. It’s the soundtrack to our lives; our emotions; our fears. It gets us over the hump and it shoves us right back under it.

Nostalgia is funny, really. The smell of baked cookies or boiling chicken soup brings us back to a happy place when we were bubbling with life as a child. And even if we overestimate the value of that happiness (were we ever truly ‘content’ as kids?), music never fails to do the same. For that, I am grateful.

I’m honored to be able to write about the sounds that touch me on a consistent basis, and in my own little world to help make this whole thing go-round. Maybe I’ve had an effect on your emotions. I don’t know. But if I’m even close, it makes all the difference.

Enjoy a new song from an Irish band I find to be very “early 2000s soft indie pop”. It’s the first single off the forthcoming album, the pea green boat. - Knox Road


The Star Department are an indie pop-rock band who hail from Dublin, Ireland. Just yesterday they released a brand new single which was produced by David Brewis from Field Music.

Have a listen to Antlers in the Bandcamp player below – the song will be included on their upcoming debut long player, The Pea Green Boat, due for release sometime in 2012.

For more on The Star Department, visit them over on Facebook. - The Indie Machine


The mysterious Star Department have been releasing music since 2006, but despite having early track ‘Embers’ chosen for the Aer Lingus in-flight track list, their serene alt. pop never crossed my ears until today. Mixed by Field Music brother David Brewis, ‘Antlers’ is a beguiling and lovable introduction to the band, who clearly employ both book smarts and street smarts in their songwriting. Set mouths to drool for their debut album, The Pea Green Boat, which comes out later in the year. - Hot Press


2012 could be a great year for music discovery, provided that I get an e-mail daily from bands who are making music like Dublin, Ireland band The Star Department. Their latest effort is the album The Pea Green Boat, which will be released this year and was mixed by David Brewis from Field Music. The first song we can hear from the record came out last month and is called “Antlers”. - Indie Music Filter


Star Department’s vocals were earnest and pleading, reminiscent of a younger Conor Oberst and an earlier Bright Eyes. Unfortunately, the remarkable duo failed to capture the crowd’s immediate attention until they snatched it with a raucous third or fourth song – it reminded me of what Vetiver’s front man, Andy Cabic, said at one of his concerts that they always play a loud song first in order to silence the crowd; perhaps Star Department should consider doing this next time. Overall, the performance was brilliant, especially for their second or third show as a two-piece, which mid-way through they admitted it to being. - Rachael Lee, www.cmj.com


The Star Department are a Dublin quartet with 2 releases to their name. The most recent mini LP ‘Auditions’ displayed the grand plans that they’ve in store for us. The song structures they adopt generally have a loose feel, trading the traditional chorus verse chorus system for something that never lulls into the realms of predictable. Not that listening to their music is a difficult task; despite an ever-changing soundscape there are bite sized pieces of melody and sweet shimmering chords to dine out on immediately. ‘Palettes’ is typical of the lolloping bundle of jangling noise that the band are capable of as it switches from quiet introspection to stampeding herd of riffery within the blink of an eye. The Star Department are a great prospect who are proving that experimentation doesn’t necessarily always have to be a challenge to unlock - www.mp3hugger.com


It's the euphoric way that ideas are thrown together that indicates that this could be the start of something special. Sort of like 'Confusion is Nothing New' (Beachwood Sparks) with beefed up scattered elegance. The raw talent on show means that the Star Department have a couple of avenues open to them, be it post-rock, sublime indiepop or perhaps their own unique hybrid. Absorb this sonic cavalcade and you'll see what I mean. - www.mp3hugger.com


"magisterial...powerful and haunting" 8/10 - Channel 4 Planet Telex


The Star Department - Auditions

The Star Department, who released quite an outstanding debut EP last year in Flickering Lights, release their new mini-album Auditions this March on CableAttack Records. I've been listening through the album the past few weeks, and enjoying the indulgence, looking forward to writing something about it.

Again, we have a fractured gem of near highest quality, or an album of fractured gems, depending on which way you want to look at it. In typical Star Department fashion, tracks are spread further within themselves than they are to each other. From the outset in 'The Morning After' we are presented with vague aching bewilderments that run as a theme through a lot of the EP "well if you don’t need that, then you don't anything, but everybody needs something". With the Star Department you get an emotive indie backbone, but layered with shoegaze shimmerings, and while each track is quite impressively unstructured, and fractured into itself, they tend to flow into each other quite seamlessly. It would seem at first that the second track 'Sandcastles' attempts to shift the tone, introducing itself with a positively uplifting melody, but the true story lies in the lyric and vocals "you might as well let go of this" "like an old man kicking over sandcastles as the child drowns in the sea, just be stronger, make it easier and let go" "its not natural". The melody is there as a taunting reflection of the past, the mood more one of uncomfortable compassion. In 'Time Passes' we get another track which works its way under the skin with suggestion "wipe yourself off the floor" "you walk sideways and your dreams you can keep", while in 'The Sky Will Fall' we have a track bursting with emotional draw of an impending sense of past catching up despite regrets. Fifth track 'Palettes' opens with a sparse melody, suggesting a moment of clarity, but embroiled with a caution that "matchstick man will burn you again, a desperate man, works in desperate ways" it becomes clearer that this album surrounds a lot of darkness despite being one that will more than likely be embraced by most who hear it. A lot of people won't fully get it. Most people won't need to. On the surface, The Start Department offer quite a brilliant sonic and emotive outlay of unstructured indie-shoegaze crossover forays, and it's difficult not to fall into its charm. Underneath it all, themes run quite a bit deeper.

- www.frequency-ireland.blogspot.com


Discography

Flickering Lights - EP - June '06

Antlers - single - Dec '11

Porcelain Doll - single - May '12

Photos

Bio

The Star Department formed in 2006 in Dublin, initially as a four piece. The debut EP, 'Flickering Lights', was released soon after and received much critical acclaim. It was mastered by Kramer (Low, Daniel Johnston, Galaxie 500), the track 'Embers' was chosen by Aer Lingus for their in-flight track list and the track 'Flickering Lights' was chosen by Road Records and Nokia as one of the 'Recommender' songs, which showcases the best new music worldwide. The band were chosen as one of Today FM's 'Rising Bands of 2007' and enjoyed a lot of airplay in Ireland, USA and Spain. After a busy couple of years, writing and playing live around Ireland, the line up changed and as a result the band's whole way of writing and recording changed.

The line up now consists of Michael Orange and Justin Commins and after a hiatus, they began working on their debut album, 'The Pea Green Boat', while also taking in tours in the USA and Canada in 2010 and 2011, as part of CMJ and NXNE. December 2011 saw the band release 'Antlers', with David Brewis from Field Music taking up mixing duties. It was the first single from the debut album and May 2012 saw the second single, 'Porcelain Doll' see the light of day. Both were very well received and picked up many favourable reviews from press, both at home and abroad. The album, which is being mixed by Tom McFall (Bloc Party, REM, Stars, Weezer), is scheduled for a release in 2012 and following that the band will focus on the live show, with friends joining to flesh the songs out in the live setting.

Members: Michael Orange and Justin Commins.