The atmosphere of a clandestine gig pervaded the Clarendon basement, with people overflowing from every nook and cranny. It’s the type of place where probably half the audience is in some band or another. Department S had no problem in pulling a fair sized crowd, probably because the band have received more than the occasional airplay on the John Peel show, even though their name sounds more like that of a TV programme. Many of their songs were about vision, including television. They put all the crosses in the right boxes. ‘Take a Bow’ was an apt beginning, followed by the single ‘Is Vic There’ to fill your ears with music while the night is young. But there is not here. The vocals, guitars, and synthesiser blended together to give depth to their songs. A couple of cover versions were thrown in: an old Roxy Music number for one, and another, Bolan’s ‘Solid Gold Easy Action’ fused in perfect unity with The ‘Stones’ ‘Satisfaction’. Very clever, and very stylish.
AMANDA NICHOLLS – ‘Record Mirror