Having received nowhere near the praise that it probably deserved, Surfer Blood’s 2009 debut Astro Coast was notable for two things. i) Lead single Swim; a virulently infectious Californian sun-kissed indie gem that received a ridiculously low amount of airplay, and ii) displaying a phenomenal amount of promise. Shirking off the bedroom four track roots that all but the drums stemmed from, there was a sincere pop sensibility buried beneath its bubble-and-squeak composition of twangy guitars and mild calypso.
Thankfully, then, follow-up EP lives up to the early promise,for the most part. Opener I’m Not Ready has been knocking about the live circuit for the last year or so – sparse guitars lacking the immediacy of some the first album highlights, but leading to a chorus that nags insistently after only a couple of deeper listens.
Voyager Reprise continues in the vein of Neighbour Riffs, with far more self-assured songwriting combining pleasantly with the almost childish exuberance that has pervaded their material to date. Worryingly twee in places, it gives way to a keyboard and harmonica solo that would be bloody awful if it wasn’t quite so addictive. Drinking Problem evokes Golden Haze-era Wild Nothing – an entertaining, if slightly bite-sized romp with a cool feedback-soaked outro.
However, it’s the Summer of Love remix of Voyager Reprise that one suspects will grab the most attention. Sounding almost custom-made to be played back to back with M83’s Midnight City, it’s a superbly tongue-in-cheek electro ball of Edam that should decimate indie clubs in the months to come. Which alas make the remix Drinking Problem seem slightly redundant, and whilst Miranda is Weezer without the self-deprecation, it’s also slightly paint-by-numbers.
A great taster for the second album, Tarot Classics is too insubstantial to fully endorse, but if picked up cheaply enough, it’s a satisfying introduction to a band who haven’t even begun to show what they’re properly capable of.
Matt Crane says….
To find out more, visit the official Surfer Blood website HERE.