Album Review: Backyard Surgeons – “Totally Numb” EP

Album Review: Backyard Surgeons – “Totally Numb” EP

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I’d be screwed without the internet.  It’s true.   I don’t know how I’d get through the working week without it.  Wasting time trawling through pages upon pages of mind-numbing crap has become an integral part of my work day.  I hope my boss never reads this.  Back to my point.  Recently, deep in internet exploration, I came across a Melbourne-based band called Backyard Surgeons.  After raping their MySpace page for a week or so, I gave in and purchased their EP, Totally Numb.  Ten points for the internet.

In 2009, the five members took themselves to Rangemaster Studios and spent a week with notable Australian producer, Dave Carr.  While the process was expedited due to many circumstances, this is not evident in the release.  It is evident that all songs were well polished before the band hit the studio. All songs in the release were already solid inclusions within the Surgeons live show making them easy choices for recording and pressing.

Opener, Amigo Let Me Go, would be an obvious standout even if the EP wasn’t only five tracks long.  A slow guitar introduction shifts into a full band assault before a small bass-driven breakdown bursts when you least expect it.  A classy move of musicianship by the five piece.  It also features the EP’s best lyric, ‘don’t push me, I don’t want to spill my drink on you tonight’.  That is going straight to my everyday vocabulary bank.

Don’t Expect A Change kicks in with back-and-forth guitar between Ryan Melder and Matt Hunter.   Heavy gang vocals bite and snap around effectively Morgan Boal’s more melodic additions.  Lyrically, it’s politically charged as it denounces the lack of public control over issues of a political nature.  It doesn’t once come off as if the band is attempting to preach to the listener.

One of the shining qualities of this release is that it is sans the bleeding heart bullshit that has saturated the punk-rock market.  Bad Intent strikes this cord from the second it starts.  Well executed pauses with drums fills are quickly followed by a punchy guitar riff coupled with a structured thrashing of the skins before kicking back into the song.  The song meanders through many changes but never do they feel out of place rather they leave the bands predictability at a zero.

While you’d think with a title like Good Luck the song would be delivered with a softer message, however the tune’s ‘catch ya later’ and raised middle finger attitude becomes quite clear early on.  While beginning in a nice tone, it turns into one of the best ‘fuck you’ songs that I’ve heard in 2010.

I have one major issue with this release.  At five tracks, it’s just not long enough.  This EP has a lot going for it and by the time that is realized it finishes.  I’d like to pick out a track or two that rise above the others but the truth is that all five hold their own.  Nothing is overdone or overtly technical. The simplicity is its strength; straight-up, fast, honest, melodic punk rock.  The way it should be.  None of this ‘she doesn’t love me’ hogwash that gets old and uninspired real quick.  Whatever they’re doing, it works.  Best ten bucks I’ve spent in while.  You can stream Totally Numb, in its entirety, on  their MySpace Page.  Nice one internet!

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