husband&wife operation:surgery

[Self-Released; 2006]

Styles: indie rock, emo, neo-emo
Others: Pedro the Lion, Bedhead, Matt Pond PA

Call it the folly of youth perhaps, but husband&wife are attempting some direct connection with their audience via that heart-on-sleeve trope of the emo singer. To be sure, lead vocalist Mike Adams is more of the David Bazan indie school than the teenyboppper Jimmy Eat World camp, but there are moments where an irrepressible brightness seems to poke through, placing him a bit closer to Rivers Cuomo or, gulp, Ben Folds. For my taste, this is a godsend, given that dry and crackly desperation often chafes me more than connects with me. Give me a juicy little bit of peppy melodicism every once in a while, am I right? Or maybe I'm just too well-adjusted for my own good.

While operartion:surgery is heavily weighted with a downtrodden mood -- permeating everything from the arrangements to the tempo of the songs -- it also offers some decidedly sweet-sounding, pretty passages. A standout is "the direction we never went," which for all its percussive instrumental bravado finds Adams' voice and a chugging bassline attaining a somewhat inspirational tunefulness. Still, to those inclined towards the emo, the rest of the album is sure to satisfy. The band is tight, and the sentiments seem genuine. What more could an emo boy ask for?

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