The Operation M.D. We Have An Emergency

Thanks to a strange amalgamation of ’80s new wave, SoCal pop punk and early Hives staccato punk rock’n’roll, the Operation M.D. sound like the cleaner cut version of a mad scientist. Production that would leave one hearing the drum stool squeak makes this collection of 11 songs ring loud, proud and crystal-clear. It just goes to show that these sonic doctors (Cone McCaslin of Sum 41 and Todd Morse of H2O, Juliette and the Licks) know their way around a saccharine-laden melody and strong delivery given their day jobs. Each tune has its own unforgettable hook while still retaining enough bite to slip past the predictable pop rock radar, branching into territory more frequented by late ’90s Fat Wreck bands flirting with Rocket From The Crypt’s "rock meets big band” scuffle. The end result does occasionally mean that tracks on We Have An Emergency falter, pandering towards one side of the fence or the other more than they really should; the duo strives to make pop songs punk-y and vice versa. In general though, this is the sort of album that can appeal to two sides of the spectrum. It’ll be a guilty pleasure for open-minded punkers while your average pop music enthusiast will enjoy its devilish forays into something a touch "grittier.” In fact, it would seem as if the light-hearted, uncomplicated approach and inherent ability of these songsmiths are far superior to anything their regular bands have released in years. (Aquarius)