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Articles Home » 2012 Articles » Departure - 2012 Hitch A Ride
Departure - 2012 Hitch A Ride

ARTIST: Departure
ALBUM: Hitch A Ride
LABEL: Escape Music
YEAR: 2012


LINEUP: Andi Kravljaca - lead vocals * Mike Walsh - guitars, keyboards * Ryan Walsh - bass * Duey Ribestello - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 No Where To Go * 02 You Don't Need To Do This Anymore * 03 Rain * 04 Soldier Of Fortune * 05 LuvSick * 06 Roses * 07 Travel Through Time * 08 Fly * 09 This Is My Time * 10 Without You * 11 Outside Looking In


Back in the century before this one, there was a New Jersey outfit called Departure who caused a minor ruckus with their 1998 self titled album. Masterminded by guitarist, keyboardist and all round musical genius (well I think he is.. lol!) Mike Walsh, Departure is without doubt his 'baby', but the spotlight has always tended to fall on the lead vocalist in the lineup at the time, and during their career, there have been four vocalists who have added their touch without changing the overall Departure sound. First we had Ken Michaels, then we had Dave Baldwin formerly of fellow Jersey-ites Tradia, then it was the turn of Timothy Lewis who impressed on Departure's last disc 'Corporate Wheel' from 2003. Now nearly a decade on, Walsh has bought Andi Kravljaca from Silent Call into the Departure family, though in all honesty, they are all part of the wider Escape Music family, which includes producer Martin Kronlund, who has worked and played with many artists on the Escape roster.. no need to mention them here. So, what's the verdict? A pretty solid all round performance without having pyromaniac tendencies, that is - hot enough to make an impression but not hot enough to burn.

The Songs
Opening up with 'No Where To Go', the immediate impression one gets is that of lead singer Kravljaca who is a fantastic blend of Lee Small and Goran Edman. The excitable chorus lifts this to a higher level and we should all be thanking Walsh for bringing Departure back into our melodic consciousness once again. 'You Don't Need To Do This Anymore' is a majestic piece that opts for the surging uptempo side of the metronome. A very likeable song. I have to say the same about 'Rain', with it's very pompous intro and 70's stylistic approach. One can make assumptions about what albums populates the record collections of Messrs Walsh and co. 'Soldier Of Fortune' is classy stuff, a smoky melodic rocker with lyrics not far removed from a CCM record I have to say. 'LuvSick' (silly title huh?) has a sound timestamped in the 90's decade, not one of my favourite tunes on the CD, let's move on.. 'Roses' touches on ballad territory, again a likeable tune when given a few repeat plays. It does fire up as we move along, the solo section features some solid guitar and keyboard interplay, and that for me gets a huge thumbs up! Mike Walsh gets to be the feature pin-up on 'Travel Through Time', a Tesla like workout (a la 'Mechanical Resonance') with a few twists and turns to keep it interesting. Good tune! Perhaps the most pompous track on offer is the effortless 'Fly', the keyboard layers are noticeably full in the mix giving comparisons to fellow New Jersey outfits Shotgun Symphony and Intruder. Reverting to a simplistic fun time romp is the lovely 'This Is My Time', a racy but clean sounding affair with organ lines to the fore. Kravljaca really is the star of the show on the acoustic ballad 'Without You', a fantastic track that stacks more emotion than a wet sponge. The finale 'Outside Looking In' epitomises Departure's brand of AOR, and if you use Goran Edman's track record with outfits such as Kharma and Brazen Abbot, then you'll get an idea where Andi Kravljaca is coming from, his work with Mike Walsh here providing some exceptional moments.

In Summary
It's pretty easy to suggest that any album involving Departure should by rights get an album review here. Though in saying that, we unfortunately didn't get around to 1999's 'Open Your Mind', which should be corrected in time. However, it's great to see Walsh and Departure continue in their great tradition. The legacy of great vocalists singing with this band is only matched by great guitarists playing with Ozzy Osbourne. So that suggests to me that Mike Walsh has a knack in finding the right guy to sing with Departure. I'd certainly like to see Kravljaca continue on, and not become a one singer-one album statistic that Departure have racked up over the years. At least with 'Hitch A Ride', this is an album that gives Escape Music brownie points in 2012. A solid effort indeed!

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#1 | swazi on June 10 2012 22:40:06
I quite liked their previous releases and this one is no difference. Recommended! And the front artwork is brilliant, imo.
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