For all the enduring interest in classic American power pop, New York City group Central Departure remain largely unknown. Among serious fans, however, the band’s sole single is a coveted piece. Released in 1981, the A-side is a crisp, speedy blast of top-notch power pop. ‘Rock’n’Roll DJ’ should have been a massive radio hit, but group weren’t too disappointed when sales failed to match their hopes; if the public hadn’t noticed, Capitol Records had, and a major label contract appeared imminent. As the musicians prepared to enter the studio and lay down their second single, though, the hammer dropped: they had been declined at the last minute. With these hopes now dashed, the demoralised group dissolved not long after.
In retrospect, there’s no dramatic story or mythical aura about this record; it’s a simply very good 45 that should have been a much bigger hit, and still deserves to be heard today, which is where MeanBean comes in. That’s not the whole story, though. While the original plan was simply to reissue the original single, the process of transferring the songs from the analogue reels revealed unreleased material of high quality, music simply too good to remain unheard, and the project was revised accordingly. The Central Departure record will now be issued as a four-cut EP, both originals with two superb unreleased tracks: It’s Attraction’ will appeal to every fan of power pop’s halcyon days, while ‘For You So Long’—which features Annie on vocals and was initially slated to be the sophomore single—is in the vein of the Shivvers. All this served in a MeanBean custom label sleeve with a band promo shot postcard. Since Mean Bean records have the nasty habit of selling out before they’re even released, you know what to do. Limited to 350.
Recommended if you like The Go, The Shivvers and Power Pop alike.