NEEDS

Punk/Hardcore

Review

Dying Scene

Is it possible to grow out of punk? I know plenty of people who were once active in the scene that are no longer in it for one reason or another, but did they really grow out of it? Or did their evolving musical tastes just bring them to new things? Whether they intend to or not, Canadian hardcore punk act NEEDS sets forth and answers this question with their self-titled debut record. The answer? No, you don’t grow out of punk. It may grow up with you, sounding completely different than what it originally was when you first heard it in your room as a kid, but if it was ever really a part of you, you’ll never be rid of it.

NEEDS brings this up in the song “We Forgot the Records to Our Record Release Show,” as lead singer Sean Orr screams out, “What am I doing?” before answering himself in a somewhat silly voice that’s found throughout the whole album, “No seriously, what am I doing?” The song continues, “I’m 36 years old! 37 in a couple of months. In a hardcore band! Although it’s probably more like punk.” The bands self-reflecting humor is found throughout the album, but is especially present here. And while the question of staying punk as you grow up is explored in the lyrics, the real answer is in the music: because it kicks ass.

The band combines 80s style hardcore with noise rock and post-hardcore elements to create something truly refreshing. You don’t know what you’re getting with each song, and by the end of it, you’ll probably be left wondering just what that was you heard. Opening track “Rescue Don” gets into a nice groove with its bouncing bass line and post-punk style guitar before the band blows it’s top and goes all out. “The Only Good Condo is a Dead Condo” alternates between psychedelic sections and dissonant whirlwinds of fury that is reminiscent of Reagan Youth’s “It’s A Beautiful Day.” I even heard a little grunge influence in “Walk, Cycle or Take Transit Like Jehu.” This band also likes long and funny song titles, if you couldn’t tell.

NEEDS is filled with well-crafted songs that aren’t afraid to push the envelope in terms of how much the band can pack in sound-wise. Yet, while every song is a new adventure, by the end it still manages to feel a little repetitive. The last 2 or 3 songs never really stuck out to me because I feel like I had already heard everything the album had to offer by then.

NEEDS have come out strong with their debut effort. They’re not afraid to mix up their influences in a way that showcases their talent as musicians and songwriters, and the songs are still teeming with the youthful rage that makes any good punk band great. So instead of growing out of punk, they are growing up with it, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still keep one foot in punk rock neverland.

4/5 Stars

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Biography

For their debut album on File Under: Music, NEEDS decided to step back from the chaos that has always fueled their live shows and purposefully craft a record that inspires you to never stop listening.

NEEDS bassist Glenn Alderson has a picture hanging on his fridge of vocalist Sean Orr lying shirtless on the floor, screaming into a microphone propped up in a shoe. The photo was taken at the explosive final show for Orr’s last band, which Alderson saw as the beginning of his new band. After getting guitarist Derek Adam (You Say Party) on-board, he got Orr back on the mic. Guitarist Colin Spensley and drummer Devin O’Rourke witnessed the early NEEDS performances and took no convincing to join the orchestra for Orr’s performance piece, in which nothing he can get his hands on is safe. RIP pineapples and pint glasses.

“Sean is a very sensitive man,” Alderson says. While he may display a certain feral numbness live, it’s merely a presentation of the anger from the many worldly thorns in his paw. In fact, the first new song written for the record, “Clowns to the Left of Me, Dzhokars to the Right,” was written the day after the Boston Bombing. Once they had an album’s worth of material they retreated about as far from civilization as you can get; the Noise Floor Studios on Gabriola Island with producer Jordan Koop (You Say Party, The Courtneys, Needles//Pins). While this was their third time recording with Koop, the previous sessions were all done live off the floor to capture the band’s live energy. But according to Spensley, “this time we decided to go track by track and really polish these songs, letting every part stand on its own.”

The resulting record, mastered by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering (Viet Cong, Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear), is a presentation of cohesive chaos; the bass and drums set you in your place while the guitars have an angular chat around you. When Orr’s emotionally charged call to arms, apathy or caring come in it’s the tie that binds. Menacing and melodic, intelligent yet terrifying; the group invokes feelings similar to that first time you heard Nation of Ulysses and Big Black, or when you discovered the power of the Wipers. NEEDS call on the mighty lords of DC. They pillage the record bags of Trash Talk and Fucked Up. They kneel before fuzz and distortion, taking the listener on a 10-song journey through suburban doldrums, urban renewal, the idiocy of punk music, a smoke break, decay and despair.

“But there’s a cleanliness to the destruction,” Orr says. Indeed the concluding lyrics provide a practical reason for it – “Give up. So we can begin.” It certainly seems to have worked for NEEDS on their debut LP. NEEDS will be on tour throughout North America in 2015 and will release their self-titled album on May 12.

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Biography

For their debut album on File Under: Music, NEEDS decided to step back from the chaos that has always fueled their live shows and purposefully craft a record that inspires you to never stop listening. NEEDS bassist Glenn Alderson has a picture hanging on ...

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Review

Dying Scene Is it possible to grow out of punk? I know plenty of people who were once active in the scene that are no longer in it for one reason or another, but did they really grow out of it? Or did their evolving musical tastes just bring them to new t...

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