Faber Drive - Seven Second Surgery
Label: Universal Records / 604 Records
Producers: Brian Howes and Joey Moi
Release Date: May 1, 2007 (Canada) / August 28, 2007 (USA)
Alright, let's just get it out of the way: yes, everything you know and hate about corporate rock makes up the debut of British Columbia rock outfit Faber Drive.
Chad Kroeger, Nickelback's permed frontman, "discovered" them and signed them to his label (604 Records); Joey Moi, one of Nickelback's favorite producers, helped work the boards on their debut; and Hinder's producer, Brian Howes, is listed as co-producer on the album.
With a line-up like that, how can you not be speculative of a band like this? Canada has given us some great bands (if we just forget Anne Murray and Nickelback for a minute), but their polished, big-rock acts these days are often very dull and repetitive.
While I can't say this doesn't affect Faber Drive in some way, their big rock sound and glossy pop sheen make them more reminiscent of Def Leppard and Bon Jovi rather than (thankfully) Nickelback.
The band's debut effort, Seven Second Surgery, sounds huge and is very radio-friendly, but lacks the appeal of anything sticking around for longer than mere minutes after it is over. Already popular up north, the young foursome is quickly rising to the elite group of new rock bands in Canada (they already have two hit singles there, while the album will drop in the U.S. later on this summer).
Full of syrupy ballads, you'll likely become a diabetic if you listen to this record too much. Lead single "Second Chance" is the kind of radio-made power ballad that is so catchy, you hate yourself for enjoying it. "Tongue Tied" is the same kind of song, solely written with the intention of giving an audience one more excuse for holding up their Zippos. "24 Story Love Affair" is a great lead-off cut, however, grabbing the ear and pulling off a huge hook.
Keyboard-heavy, harmony-driven "Sex and Love" (the song that got them signed) is simply edgy pop-rock while another power ballad, "Sleepless Nights (Never Let Her Go)" is too formulaic and redundant to stick out from the several other anthemic love songs on the disc (such as the staple acoustic ballad, "When I'm With You," which even has crickets chirping once its over...good sign or bad sign -- you be the judge). Album closer "You'll Make It" is the song you wish could have been more influential across the entire record: featuring a large-and-in-charge chorus and female backing vocals, its the highlight of the show, but alas, the last song on the disc.
Everything this band and their debut album produce is very basic -- and it works for them. The band has a knack for writing enormous hooks over addictive melodies -- problem is, it's nothing memorable. They're making predictable arena rock that will eat away at your endearing rock-lover soul, but won't leave you feeling anything but empty afterwards.
Frontman Dave Faber's vocal style is similar to that of Mitch Allen (SR-71), which I like, and his bandmates keep up the huge wall of sound, but it all comes across as a studio record with all the amps cranked up to 11. It sounds great, but doesn't have much more to it than that. Faber's songwriting is also very generic; the lyrics don't really leave much to the imagination, and are rather bland.
I won't lie -- I enjoy listening to the album while it's on, but once it is over, I have trouble remembering much about it. All I really know after I'm done is that it was a fun ride for 40 minutes, but didn't give me anything other than a quick sugar rush.
We all enjoy candy every now and then, and that is exactly what Faber Drive's Seven Second Surgery is: a roll of ShockTarts that leaves your tastebuds on high-alert and keeps your mind buzzing, but eventually, drains you and leaves you feeling vacant.