Another proof that 2015 was such a great year for getting to hear some brilliant releases is “Alpha” from The Department. Fans of synth-pop, electronica and new wave have the opportunity to enjoy one true synth-electro-wave experience. Even though “Don’t Give Up” shows you a bit more melancholic synth sound characteristic for Swedes, the next track “Take My Hand” is a bit more minimal electro painted, but still utterly melodic with the retro vibe; excellent piece for the dance floor. “Glass Houses” relies on the new wave sound, keeping it again very rhythmic and melodic.
“Come Inside” again is one inviting number, with the formula The Department appears to utilize so well: the mix of a danceable rhythm and even with the minimalistic electro feel, a melody you can easily follow. The vocal creates its own path and tells the story on its own. “Not For You” is however my the favourite track. It has all the right ingredients which make a synth pop hit a synth pop hit. Here the retro influences are a bit less prominent and I would say this is one really contemporary piece of synth-wave! Great synth arrangements here take over the vocal line so easily I could imagine this one being an instrumental and do the thing; the synth sound here is totally overwhelming.
That is not however the case with the next track where Rob’s vocal leads the way, and this time at a slower pace. But the guys are not so cheerful all the time, so they exploit a darker sound on “Slow Down” and flirt with a bit of a gloomier idea here. Even though this one is another slower track on the menu, it makes an excellent slow dancer for a dimmed dance floor with a nice melodic phrase. Rob, again telling a story of his own, brings another dimension to the track with his vocal performance; excellent work Rob! Keeping the pace at the slower side, “Let It Go” is like a logical sequel, but this time in a ballad manner. It seems they decided to keep it more quiet on the second half of the album, and just fair enough after the cardio exercise they gave us on the first half. Another utterly melodic hit awaits us with “Even The Sun”. They close down with a mellower and softer version of “As If Transformed” and even though the initial version is absolutely dancy, it is great to hear it in a version that relies less on rhythm and more on the wonderful soundscapes and the voice.