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.