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“Step into a sick rhythm. And I mean sickly. Surgery Channel is a constructed world where everything is piercing and pinpointed. Every single word brings confrontation. With an intro as intimate and uncomfortable as this, The C.I.A. make you question what could be happening here…or what they’re after. Denée Segall (vocals, lyrics) is both haunting and seducing us at once with her voice. Something unhinged might be about to happen and they’re calmly dangling it over your head. Is it the possibility of dismemberment? Revenge?
“There is something about Surgery Channel that is sterile and covered in dirt at the same time. Maybe it’s the feeling of simultaneous anger and defeat. Maybe it’s what comes after. Or maybe it’s about the ever-so-brief silent spaces between notes and words. Rhythm would be nothing without empty space. Words are rhythm at The C.I.A.
“There’s nothing wishy washy about The C.I.A. or the way they sound. It’s all about precision and aim But really, it’s a warning... amplified by the suspense of tick-tocking drum machine beats that resemble a hospital room. Ty Segall (bass, percussion, back up vocals) and Emmett Kelly (bass, synth, back up vocals) have painted a jarring and dissonant landscape behind Denée’s story. Their basses could easily be swapped for bone drills and you might not be able to tell the difference. Emmett’s modular synth envisions an environment reminiscent of the instrument itself, a mess of wires and pulsing red lights. Ty’s subtle use of electronic and analog percussion fluctuates between the sound of a metal tray hitting the floor (“The Wait”), and the swish of an ultrasound scan (“Bubble”).
“Both Surgery Channel and The C.I.A’s first self-titled record are ripe with straightforward conviction. However this most recent installment reveals a new side of their personality. Now The C.I.A. is communicating from an electrified, pulsating, metallic playpen that wants you to strut. Surgery Channel shows punks a new way to move while remaining loyal to the traditions of catharsis and social commentary.
“This record is an astute observation and blunt critique. Both inward and outward. It is an exploration into how harshly intimate that process can be. It was written in 2021 by Denée Segall, Ty Segall, and Emmett Kelly. It was recorded at Harmonizer Studios and mixed at Golden Beat by Mike Kriebel.” —Sofia Arreguin