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The Soft Hills Departure Tapete Records
Article written by
Ged M - Feb 27, 2014
Departure charts the relocation of Garrett Hobba from rainy Seattle to sunny California for health reasons, though the lyrics of songs like ‘Golden Hour’ cast a North Western gloom over the bright arrangements (“they’re fucking with your life support, trying to put you down”). Almost gone is the Americana feel of earlier albums; there are still some Fleet Foxes-style harmonies but the influences are more spacey and European; ‘Road to the Sun’ channels Pink Floyd and the Flaming Lips, while ‘White Queen’ has echoes of Midlake when they were on an English folk trip. ‘Here It Comes’ is, lyrically and musically, the best thing on Departure; a bit like early Fleetwood Mac, it’s meditative and slow with sweet harmonies and is full of special pleading: “I promised you not to drop the ball again….woman give me one more chance”. Strangest of all is ‘Stairs’, muscular where the rest of the record is cerebral and sounding like it was released on Factory Records in the 80s, complete with post-punk droney guitars. Those European influences are the most compelling reason for listening to the Soft Hills and make Departure the best arrival point for newcomers to the band.