Night Surgeon

Gondola Crimewave EP

Written by: TL on 14/03/2014 00:06:05

Considering my displays of liking towards bands like CHVRCHES, Say Lou Lou and The Jezabels, I think the cat's out of the bag that I'm a sucker for 80's style new wave and synth pop elements (so, 'synthwave', I guess), which perhaps explains why I've signed up to review "Gondola Crimewave", the third EP from the coolly dubbed Oregon duo Night Surgeon, who have been using their Berklee School Of Music talents to hone their style since forming back in 2010. As they emphasize on their facebook page however, they stand out from the electronica crowd by employing real drums, and when you add the lead singing of Patrick Replogle you essentially find their sound somewhere between the chilled electronics of artists like those already mentioned (perhaps also College), and lighter pop rock bands like Keane, Snow Patrol or The Killers. Especially the former comes to mind if you focus on the vocals, which really remind me of a cross between their Tom Chaplin and Dredg singer Gavin Hayes.

As you might imagine, bringing the playful, wide-eyed electronics of the 80's together with such a voice is hardly an unappealing proposition, but unfortunately the duo - which is completed by John Boyd, who handles percussion and piano while Replogle plays the guitar and synths - keeps it a bit safe on this one, never getting as emotive or as dark as either of the three bands listed first in the 'For The Fans Of' section below here. The mood is kept laid-back almost the whole way through, and while the style is convincingly and enjoyably built up, you get the feeling that the project lacks simply in terms of sheer hooks and diversity, preventing it from having a truly deep impact. I like the chiming keys that offset the verse of "Fall Into My Arms", I like the ringing synth in the bridge that reminds me of Stereophonics "Dakota", I like the overall moments of Depeche Mode-light-ness and I like the refrains of "We'll dance to the songs that noone likes anymore" and "I ain't no one-night stand" in "Fall Into My Arms" and in closer "Shout Out". I'm not so keen on the moments here and there that would be called borderline eurodance if they were from over here though.

Overall, these guys are honing a good idea I think, but they haven't got to the point yet, where they don't just mostly make you want to seek out more fully developed alternatives like the ones I listed in this article's beginning.

6

Download: Shout Out, Fall Into My Arms
For The Fans Of: The Killers, White Lies, The Jezabels, Snow Patrol
Listen: facebook.com/nightsurgeonpdx

Release Date 11.03.2014
Self-released

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