Volunteer Department – “Wild Fantasy”

Volunteer Department first came across my radar in 2019 with the Big Gulp Sigh release. The quiet and ominous production was captivating (the liner notes stating it was “Written and recorded from my chair” was also a worthwhile bit of curiosity). In the years that have followed, Volunteer Department has never ceased to impress and intrigue. From the Heaven Honey collaborations, to the Swell EP and all points in between, there’s not a letdown in the bunch… nor is there a lack of evolution.

With the latest release, “Wild Fantasy,” Volunteer Department makes a bold declaration that they aren’t interested in stagnating. The ominous and introspective tone is offset by a surprising use of vocoder, trading vocalist Oliver Hopkins traditional baritone delivery for something more airy. The track bounds along to a programmed beat awash with electronic flourishes and a deep deep bassline. Hopkins vocals relinquish the vocoder halfway through to unveil a wounded narrator; vulnerable and possibly self-loathing. A saxophone drifts through to carry us out. It’s not what one would expect from Volunteer Department but nothing ever is. The willingness to branch out and do so with such effectiveness is exactly what makes the band worthy of your attention.

The track is taken from a forthcoming album entitled Fountainhead, due out November 9th on Like You Mean It Records. Another track, “Big with Delight,” has also been released and carries with it similar intrigue. It’s unclear what Fountainhead will sound like specifically but it’s an extremely safe bet that it’s going to be worth listening to.

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