Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The first two songs in this session by Wisconsin band Surgeons In Heat make us feel as if we're waking up in an empty bed, in an empty house. It should make others feel the same way too. We could have been the leavers or we could have been the one who was left, but something's missing here and the band reinforces that feeling with a sumptuous blend of Memphis and Detroit rhythm and blues.
These men from the Cheese Belt put together odes to the cold side of the bed in a way that makes them feel like curious new beginnings, even if the pain might just be delayed, set to kick in a little while later, when it all hits properly. The people in these songs tend to absorb the seriousness of these misplacements of people with a certain bit of coolness, with aplomb and with that tendency to believe that there's a lesson in the greater picture. It could be an unhappy ending to something that was thought to have been good, but then again, these are just other people we're talking about and it should always be hard to trust them as far as you can throw them. You want to believe in everything working out perfectly, but then you decide to just cut the shit and see things through your regular glasses - a little blurry, but mostly clear with the correct prescription.
Surgeons In Heat - made up of guitarist/lead singer Johnathon Mayer drummer Shawn Kenneth Pierce, bassist Kenny Monroe and guitarist, Tyler Ditter - write songs that never bury the conclusions, though the circumstances that led to them are often mysterious. We find ourselves studying the excerpts of relationships from the jagged outskirts of pairings that used to be more harmonious. "Addressed To Me," here in a form that feels like a sketch of a longer narrative, is a song over overlapping relationships and Mayer sings, "When you woke up, you found this note/It was addressed to me." This could all get interesting and we're held in the balance. As the song ends, there's been no resolution and there have been no more hints as to what could possibly be coming next. We still feel strangely warm about it as this is just the way that things go.
Later, Mayer sings, "Every time you turn around there's another man with the answer to all of your problems/So you've gotta tell me/Why you gonna do me like that/Never want to let you go," on "No One Left," and if we needed resolution, we feel like we get more here and it's all about crappy decisions and flirting with new loves, for little reason. We get that. We'd rather the guessing. It hurts better.