If there’s a genre that doesn’t get enough love in South Korea, it has to be surf rock. Say Sue Me is the only band that I know who play the style. After the excellent We’ve Sobered Up, the band returned with Big Summer Night. Just listen to “Fight The Shark” and you know what’s in store.
That song has all the elements for a perfect surf rock song. The wandering guitar and bass along with clean chords on the lead guitar combined with the simple, but pulsing drums are everything you need. The repetition in the song is one of the distinct marks of a surf rock song because even though it’s the same rhythms it never gets boring. That immediately leads into “Bad Habit” which slows down the tempo, but doesn’t lose any of the energy. “Bad Habit” is all about light and upbeat melodies even if the lyrics don’t match. The catch with Say Sue Me is that while the songs are simple, the essence of each song is pure and inviting.
My favorite song is “My Problem.” It increases the tempo a bit, but mixes a little bit of indie rock with the surf rock. Listening to how the lead and rhythm guitars show off their voices on the song is excellent. I especially like how bare the drum recording is. There’s no heavy mastering to make the drums overpower the rest of the instruments. I think Say Sue Me have captured the perfect mix for simplicity to display their music. It’s pleasant to the ears and easy to get drawn into each song. One of the biggest positives is that Big Summer Night sounds like a step forward for the band. The songs are tighter and precise while still keeping the same energy that I enjoyed with We’ve Sobered Up.
Say Sue Me is a band that I really want to see live and one day I’ll have that chance. But if releases are the only way I’ll be able to appreciate them, both releases are some of the best rock albums available now. If you didn’t think surf rock was possible in South Korea, this band will prove you wrong.