Indie rock band We Need Surgery, was formed by some English teachers in Seoul, S. Korea. After a few years of writing and performing all original material in packed Korean nightclubs and festivals, they added a Korean guitarist and headed off to North America searching for a record deal. They quickly achieved that goal, signing a 3 album deal with Canadian label Light Organ Records.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on which way you look at the ever-changing music industry), label deals aren’t what they used to be. The band’s label, although helping them produce their self-titled album, as well as with photos shoots and a video shot in Japan, won’t fund tours outside Canada until the band acquire a following abroad. To worsen matters, the band member’s mix of nationalities has made it almost impossible for them to perform or even to hold day jobs to support their efforts since arriving in Canada from Korea, – making it impossible for them to get their act across the border to the US.
The album “We Need Surgery” was produced by Dave “Rave” Ogilvie (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Carly Rae Jepsen) and mixed by Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat). It is full of blinding guitar riffs, haunting lyrics, and so much energy and emotion – you can really feel that the band have put all their heart and soul into the music. This Joy Division/Arctic Monkeys/Muse/The Cure sounding band, whose music also contains slight touches of The Talking Heads brilliance, have developed a unique and original sound. Miso (Vocals/Synth/Guitar), has a superb unique and strong voice that has great range and gives the songs a whole new dimension. Together with Liam (Guitar), they use a lot of delay, tremolo guitar effects, and chunky riffs that give the songs a sound of their own. Paul (Bass), and Brandon’s (Drums) creativity is what makes this album really shine; they do a great job of cementing the rhythm section.
We Need Surgery completely surpassed my expectations. This doesn’t sound like the average indie banality. You can feel a great deal more passion coming from this album than from most of their contemporaries. Quite frankly, most of the releases out there are the musical equivalent to flat-lining. Having grown up in the early rock era, and having enjoyed the grunge years, I am used to passion and anger in my music, not musicians merely going through the motions. Consequently, I was a little apprehensive on first listening to this album.
I was knocked back by the mix of rocky guitars, danceable beats, and Miso’s intense vocals. But there was something more. Sure there are the tunes that catch your attention and make you tap your feet, but the real revelation here is in the lyrics. It feels like there’s been a real effort here to write from the heart, to write about things that truly mean something to the band, and as a result Miso’s voice comes across as more sincere, more evocative, and absolutely captivating.
There is not a single bad song on here. Some may stand out above others when listened to individually, but really this album is truly experienced when you hear the whole thing. A few personal favorite tracks include: “Simon Says,” “Stranger,” “Why’s It Always Gotta Be This Way,” “Wait Forever,” “Sisters and Brothers” and “Lion.”
“We Need Surgery” is a beautiful, profound, and moving album, with something we can all relate to.
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