Review Summary: We Have An Emergency is a fitting title.
Side projects are always interesting to see unfold. Having a chance to see what people from different bands sound like when making music together. In this case, The Operation M.D. features work from Cone McCaslin, the bassist of alternative band Sum 41, and Todd Morse, former guitarist of punk band H2O. What makes this collaboration so interesting is that in both bands, Cone and Todd are more of background members. So, now that they are given their chance to shine, how does it work out?
There are many albums over the years that turn out amazing. A clear passion and motivation to make a solid record is present, and all the cogs and gears turn in unison, creating a damn good record. There are also albums that turn out a complete mess, with no potential present and no energy or willingness to do anything more than make a few bucks.
And this is the biggest thing that annoys me about We Have An Emergency. There’s potential shown. Hell, parts of this album I would be comfortable describing as outstanding There are parts of the album that leave me tapping my foot or banging my head along, and this makes it all the more frustrating when half of the album seems completely half-assed.
The opening track is a clear example of this. “We Have An Emergency” (song) is only a nice and groovy bassline for a minute and a half. Over it are obnoxiously repetitive voiceovers and random sirens, along with other sounds. This song had the potential to be a really sweet instrumental opener, but a lack of caring left this song as one of the worst on the album.
Another example of a wasted opportunity is “Sayonara.” Without exaggeration, this song is complete punk gold. It’s fast and punchy, both lyrically and instrumentally. Todd really proves himself to be capable of writing a kick-ass rock tune. However, the kick in the balls is that the chorus of this song is a complete flop. Every line of lyric and hit on the drums builds up to the biggest let down on the album. Todd repeats “She said sayonara, she said see-ya-later, she said I don’t wanna, it made we want to die,” and it’s, in all honesty, complete garbage. This song had the potential to be outstanding, but a lack of revisions left this song
There are some songs on this album that show no potential at all. “The Way That You Walk” is just boring drums and vocals, with a view neat lead parts. It’s not nearly enough to save the song, though, and it just ends up being another failure. “Everyday I” is another tune that shows no effort at all. All they do is yell nonsensical lyrics that mean nothing. It boasts a cliche message and it has no interesting instrumental parts to keep it from sucking hard.
These let downs would serve as a huge turnoff to someone hearing about this for the first time, but that’s not the case. There are several songs on here, like I said before, that are outstanding. “Dirt” is an amazing, slow yet hard hitting track about moving pasts what gets you down. “Someone Like You” is a wonderful, get melancholy love song, with pretty great vocals from Cone.
Not every good song is slow, however. In fact, there are more than a few punk anthems that surface here. “Tomorrow’s Calling” is one of the best on the album, but it's not anything groundbreaking. The point of this album was to make a laid-back garage punk album, and this song really makes that goal fulfilled. The other fast and punchy song on the record is “Chain Reaction,” one filled with fast drums, a good riff, and great vocals; and, well We Have An Emergency uses voiceovers to make the song bad, adding a few to the bridge really added to the fun this song has. It also has a very nice solo.
So, after this roller-coaster of bad, good, great, and ***, we hit the final three songs. These three, “Photo Sexual,” “New Kill,” and “Obvious,” are not the worst songs on display here, but they are certainly not the best. The first track here is mostly noise, but it’s fast enough and not taken seriously at all, as a song about wanting to hook up with a TV star. It’s nothing good, but it’s not bad. “New Kill” isn’t amazing either, however it has the best chorus out of any song on the record. This is most likely due to the counter-vocals at work. The closer is very middling. The entire time listening to it, you can’t decide if it is an amazing work of musicianship, or garbage. The guitar and vocals sound very whiny and suffocated, but the layers that are added as the two minutes and forty seconds press on, and the lyrics that you can understand are rather good, bringing up political points as well.
In the end, We Have An Emergency is not a work of garage-punk art, but there are a few select tracks that range from good to great. The lack of consistency in the quality of the songs is the biggest issue this album has, and it stares We Have An Emergency dead in its eyes for all of the thirty-minute run time.
2.5 / 5
Favorite tracks: Someone Like You, Dirt, Tomorrow’s Calling