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Department M come from Leeds in the North of Englandshire. Ostensibly a creative vehicle for one Owen Brinley, they have spent the past year cautiously, yet crunchingly, developing a fascinating, fizzing sound which combines the heroic synths of yesteryear with a cutting contemporary electro sensibility. Depeche Mode, Air, Talk Talk, Cabaret Voltaire and - of course - ELO are just some of the names referenced in their company, and fair play too - Owen Brinley is decidedly not a man afraid of a saxophone solo. Bolstered by a four person-strong live line-up this is an act which can straddle the divide between the shiny retro-obsessed Classic Pop magazine and the cool dark alleyways of modern East London. They have previous, do Department M: in March they released the 'I'll Fax You An Apology' / 'Black Boutique' single on local label Hide and Seek. In June they released the 'The Second Prize' / 'Absentia' single through Too Pure. Unsurprisingly, phrases like "abrasive beauty" and "brutalist pop economy" tend to be bandied about Department M's music, for theirs is a world of overdriven hip-hop drum loops crashing against smooth swathes of analogue synthesiser, where the beefiest of rhythms collide with the sweetest of vocals. Come check that sweet beefiness out for yourselves here, here and there...
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