The Deportees are a five piece band from the Aberdeen area and The Birth Of Industry is their debut album. They make a big, powerful sound full of pounding drums, crashing piano chords, organ, electric guitar and four-part harmonies.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure this record out. The initial impression is that they want to be Runrig but any Scottish folk-rock band with a taste for anthemic songs will come across that way. Actually, it’s a very inaccurate comparison. The Deportees are much harder and, to my ear, lack sufficient light and shade. The opening track is the intriguing ‘This Man’ followed by the two singles, ‘A Single Truth’ and ‘I Lost Her To The Sea’. These three songs seem to be linked by the narrative of failed love or perhaps they are three stories linked to the Aberdeen coastline.
At this point I was hoping for a change of pace and it came with ‘North’, another song about cold weather, love and landscape featuring the line “there is evil in beautiful faces”. Lyricist Adam Keenan has the skill to grab your attention with a single line like that. There is subtlety in the song and even though it takes off into cinematic overload just before the end the band pull it back. ‘Shadow On The Summer’ starts off in the same manner but is quickly submerged with far too much going on. ‘The Woods’, which I particularly like, is in danger of going the same way.
There are some good songs here: ‘Industry’ and ‘Lessen The Load’ also stand out and Diarmaid O’Gallagher is an excellent lead vocalist but The Deportees do need to throttle back and let the words come through. Printing them in tiny letters under the tray doesn’t actually help.
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Artists’ website: www.wearethedeportees.co.uk
‘A Single Truth’ – official video: