Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We Surrender

It's been a hell of a day, and I figured that with my other review before, I'd wait till tomorrow to post my next article. No such luck. Or rather, I guess I did have such luck because I came across a group so unique in their sound I had to write something about them. So I guess in a way, luck was with me, and without me (little Beatles joke there lol).
Anyway, on to the important stuff. Out of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, they call themselves WeSurrender, but surrender they don't. These guys don't bend to what alternative-rock/indie usually sounds like. They blast us with their own brand of alternative-rock, and the world's a better place for it. But don't let me argue that, let the music speak for itself.
Composed of Eric Hitsman (lead vocals and guitar), Alex Banaskiewicz (lead guitar and backing vocals), Pierre MacKay (bass and percussion), and Erik S (drums), WeSurrender blasts into their first song "Never Surrender" (ironic, no?) off their record The Only Flag Worth Burning. Amidst a great guitar intro by Banaskiewicz and himself, Hitsman's vocals take us off the ground, and drop us into a vortex of melody and emotion. With a time-checking bass line by MacKay, and cymbal crashes at just the right time by Erik S, "Never Surrender" is a track composed of incredible alternative-rock melody, clear, insightful lyrics and vocals by Hitsman, and a killer guitar solo by Banaskiewicz. As we ride out on a beautiful guitar riff, the song is brilliant. Short enough to appeal to radio stations looking for a single, but also with enough meat to satisfy the pickier listener. Not a filler track at all. And with a nice piano fading out at the end, this is definitely something I'd play during a sunny Friday on the way home from school.
Track two's "How Ever Long" begins with a quiet guitar progression, and Hitsman bearing his soul through heart-felt vocals. Then the rest of the band chime in, and it's already a complete picture. MacKay's bass lines can be heard under Banaskiewicz's unique fret-work moving the song in a slow, yet undulating rhythm. And then there's S, keeping the rest in line on his basedrum and high-hats. Hitsman's vocals on this one, particularly during the chorus, give the song a unique sound and flavor. One which I have not heard with such intensity in a very long time.
"Lacerated" deviates from the other song styles by starting on a palm-mute sequence with MacKay's bass being the loudest instrument in the picture. As we work our way to the chorus, though, Hitsman's vocals and guitar pick up. The real jewels of this song, however, are Banaskiewicz's riffing during the solo and bridge, and certainly S's drumming during the chorus. The number of fills S performs is capped off by his fantastic drum rolls towards the end of the track.
And as we fade out, listening to Hitsman repeating the chorus of "Lacerated," "When I Claim the World" begins, and it's immediately different from the three previous tracks. Opting for a more indie-rock sound here, Banaskiewicz's clear guitar notes remind me of the mandoline notes on R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion," and Hitsman's vocals are considerably less intense. But this scaled back intensity plays to the advantage of the song, as MacKay's bass is quiet in the background, and his persussion, along with S's easy drumbeats, provide a sweet backdrop for Hitsman's vocals. Everything about this track is right. Wouldn't change a thing. Absolutely brilliant.

Sounds Like: Third Eye Blind, Matchbox Twenty, Boys Like Girls, R.E.M., U2

Key Tracks from The Only Flag Worth Burning: "Never Surrender," "Lacerated," "How Ever Long," "When I Claim the World"

Check out WeSurrender more at: http://www.myspace.com/wesurrenderband

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