Currently comprised of founding members and childhood friends Jae Young (bass) and Kim Byungkyu (guitar) with Sumi Choi (vocals), Kim Changwon (drums), the Busan, South Korea-based indie rock quartet Say Sue Me can trace its origins to when its founding members Young and Byungkyu, who had played together in a number of bands together throughout high school were drinking tea and beer in a Nampo-dong tea shop when they met Choi. Young and Byungkyu liked Choi’s speaking voice and immediately offered her a spot as the vocalist in a band that would eventually become Say Sue Me. Interestingly enough, as it turned out, Choi turned out to be a natural songwriter. They then recruited Kang Semin on drums — and with him they recorded their full-length debut We’ve Sobered Up, which established the band’s reputation for crafting a sound that draws from 60s surf rock and early 90s indie rock, and 5 songs off their sophomore album Where We Were Together before Semin had a near fatal accident in which he was in a near comatose state.
Continuing onward while hoping for their dear friend’s recovery, the band recruited Changwon and they finished their sophomore album, which marked their first album recorded in a professional studio. And while the album’s material reflects both a studio polish, and a young band growing more confident in their songwriting and playing, the album is tribute to their bandmate that focuses on the emotional fallout of the loss of a friend and bandmate. As the band says in press notes, “We made 5 of the songs on Where We Were Together with Semin before his accident, and of the remaining songs on the album 4 of them (“Let It Begin,” “Funny and Cute,” “B Lover,” and “About The Courage To Become Someone’s Past”) are about Semin or made with him in mind.
Although we can’t be together right now, we decided to give the album this title because it reminded us of everything we’ve shared with Semin. And what’s more, sometimes we’ve thought if we make this album a wish to return to the place we were together, some powerful spell might rise up. Who knows if it’s even possible but sometimes we think maybe it could work.”
The South Korean indie rock quartet’s latest 7 inch single features “Just Joking Around,” a song that was cut from their latest album but features a live from which the album’s title is derived — and the song begins as a slow-burning, shimmering and dreamy ballad with an explosive Ten and Vs-era Pearl Jam like guitar solo before ending with a jangling coda. “B Lover” is a brash and scuzzy power chord-based garage rock/punk rocker burner that the band explains was originally written for Semin’s other band Barbie Dolls, who play insanely fast garage rock/punk. The song’s lyrics were written as a tribute to their dear friend’s mischievous ways and desire to “just let go of worries about the future, buy as much good beer as we wanted.” They go on to say that Semin’s jokes and tastes were like those in a B movie with a Type-B personality, “so we stuck the name B Lover on the song.” While both songs possess an understandably wistful air, the material is incredibly self-assured and is a unique take on a familiar and beloved sound.