I arrived home this evening to find a copy of the new Dept of Energy record, titled Held By Waits, in my mailbox. This is the first full-length by DoE, who released a most excellent ep last year. Both that ep and this release were put out by Roam Records and produced by Mr. Johnny Sangster. Johnny and the fellows of Dept of Energy go way back, of course, having shared time in Dear John Letters.
The output from their time recording this album sounds well-considered on the whole and like a band seeking to define new boundaries for themselves in specific. What results is an album that isn't as immediately catchy as the ep (there is no "I Remember What The Light Felt Like" here), but one that has more depth and dimensions.
Upon immediate listen, it seems like a record that needs a few listens to fully sink in. That said, the collection seems more expressive, more nuanced and, I expect, more long lasting. Some of the pop elements have given way to something a little more "progressive." That doesn't mean odd time signatures and no hooks. Just that they are not as direct.
The production is stellar and the tones are varied enough to keep the bass-less trio from sounding the same on every tune. In fact, the instrumentation is flawless and the vocals strain in (mostly) all the right ways. I'm also tickled that one of my faves from their live shows, Stereo Embers, closes the disc in high style.
In all, this is a solid release from an interesting and creative band that will be making noise on the Seattle scene this year. You can catch them a few times this week: Thursday, March 15 at Sonic Boom Records (6pm, all ages) and the official CD release on Friday, March 16 at The Sunset Tavern.
Dept of Energy