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No Reply - Single Review: Departure Lounge

11 Jul 2023 // A review by Sharne Molloy-Turpin

No Reply has mixed an enchanting rhythm that honours classic hip-hop and Reggae. The Tauranga-based band has released their debut single Departure Lounge which is not only funky but inquisitive. It’s inquisitive because the title sparked many questions for me and then I found out it has some storytelling behind it. The song sets a scene in the Wellington Airport after COVID Lockdown has ended and flights have resumed, all while a DJ is playing a set. When you listen to the horn-led hip-hop beat, you can visualise the scenario in which that level of detail shows the band's aptitude. Imagine a seemingly oblivious crowd and a DJ enjoying filling the space with some passionate vibing music, completely unbothered.

In 2022, No Reply was a cover band for all the good 90's and 2000's hits, but as practice went on and some original music shined through, their collaborative process flourished. What was supposed to be some Ska covers at parties turned into something more. A highlight in the song that stands out to me is the undertone of a pop melody with a horn section that they emphasize with great effect. In this way, it infuses hip-hop with Ska, so there's an offbeat rhythm and a walking baseline. One might wonder how they do this, and part of the answer to this is because they are a seven-piece band. With their great arrangement of instruments, they have said they are motivated by wanting to perform shows that are intended to unite people with music.

I usually question the simplification of lyrics, but in this case, it encapsulates a balance with the sound they create which is fitting and something we can revel in. This is not to discredit the lyrics that we are offered, as I mentioned before, there is strong storytelling. It’s very skilful for such a large band to balance the level of lyrics and the beat to be a well-rounded sound overall. The first two verses are in first person then the song continues into a third-person narrative. Focusing on a protagonist and a narrative in music is an open opportunity for lyrics to dive into details of thoughts and feelings.

Just looking at the band's Instagram they have many performances under their belt, I’m sure we will see this group of friends under blue stage lights again. Furthermore, I hope the band shares more of their original music because they do know how to make some captivating sounds.


About No Reply

No Reply is a group of friends who find joy in the music they create. They hope to inspire their kids, and other people, to find a creative outlet that connects body with soul.

Based in the vibrant region of Tauranga Moana, No Reply is a seven-piece band (at least) with a horn section!

Originally they got together to play ska covers for a party, but quickly discovered the joy of uniting different music tastes to create something new.

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