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K-Indie Spotlight: Sit Back And Enjoy The Subtle Simplicity Of Say Sue Me's 'Bad Habit' [AUDIO]

By Jeff Tobias | August 10, 2015 04:50 PM EDT


Just because something is simple, doesn't mean it's thoughtless.

On their recent song "Bad Habit," South Korean rockers Say Sue Me prove that working with reduced materials and repetitive structures can be just as effective as any elaborate composition.

The recently-formed, Busan-based quartet released a debut album with the droll title "We've Sobered Up" in October of 2014. On July 14, they followed that up with their "Big Summer Night" EP, which contains the shuffling, amiable "Bad Habit." Once you've heard the first 15 seconds of "Bad Habit," you've familiarized yourself with nearly the entire instrumentation of the song. The harmony also remains absolutely static.

Or so one might think.

Fuzzed-out bass and steadily strummed guitar is ushered along by a minimalist beat provided by a kick drum and a snare drum--no cymbals, please and thank you.

Beyond that, there's a bit of languid, quasi-surf rock lead guitar--no bells or whistles or synthesizers (or drum machines for that matter). The sparse combination of these well-loved elements will be as welcome as a comforting blanket to any fan of American indie gods Yo La Tengo. 

Vocalist Sumi Choi offers suitably unassuming lead vocal performance over Say Sue Me's highly economic backing, subtly harmonized by guitarist Kim Byeong Gyu. The hushed singing and repetitive arrangement lulls the listener into a pleasing state of mind, allowing the music to assuage and support, rather than jar and jostle. It's an alternative way of developing musically, as opposed to the more traditional rock and roll model of tension-and-release. It's a welcome change of pace from the norm.

But that doesn't mean that 'Bad Habit' isn't building towards a well-devised denouement.

In the song's final minute, Say Sue Me offers a re-voicing of the harmony and an additional guitar overdub. While this may not sound like a Jerry Bruckheimer-esqu blockbuster of musical development, considering the patient minimalism of the song's first two-thirds, these changes are critical. Frankly, they make the song.

It's a mysterious trick that is employed by far too few songwriters. While many other bands will engage in instrumental gymnastics in order to snag the attention of their audience, Say Sue Me relax their way into the hearts and minds of their listeners.

Without working up even a trace of a sweat, this band of newcomers quietly wins the day.

Listen to the new Say Sue Me song "Bad Habit" RIGHT HERE 


Jeff Tobias is a composer, musician and writer currently living in Brooklyn, New York. As of late, he has been researching arcane tuning systems and working on his jump shot.

Tagged :  Say Sue Me, Bad Habit, Busan, review, K-Indie Spotlight


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