88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 2/3
By Seth White
Surfer Blood might have crashed ashore a decade and a half too late. Their uncomplicated yet greatly appreciated guitar riffs scream mid 90’s rock with every energizing breath. The Florida foursome’s debut, Astro Coast, draws heavily on the fuzz of Built to Spill and the catchy choruses of Weezer, all while pushing forward with the Beach Boys’ vision of surf-rock.
The albums most accessible tracks involve the strong hooks of both sing-a-long vocals, and catchy guitar licks that you’ll hear on songs like “Swim” (the albums first single), “Twin Peaks” and “Floating Vibes”. “Swim’s” chorus is probably the catchiest of the lot, or at least repeated enough to make it seem so. Aloud or in your head you will be chanting along to “Swim to reach the end” by the end of your first listen. The guitar work adds to the vocals by not trying to be overly fast or inventive, the riffs or slow and study enough to keep these songs afloat.
The band changes the tempo with “Take it Easy”. It is much more up beat and happier than most of the other tracks, almost as if they were trying to pull off a Vampire Weekend cover. Here the guitars trimmed back slightly to display the mix various drumming styles and reverb-filled melodies.
Two of the latter tracks, “Slow Jabroni” and “Anchorage”, break the power-pop mold of a three-minute time limit and are allowed to build to their full potential. “Slow Jobroni”, like the title suggest is much slower than any other song on the album. It crawls through its first three minutes before the epic guitars truly begin to kick.
“Anchorage” on the other hand jump-starts with heavy drums but then feels relatively drawn out. However, good things come to those who wait. The songs last minute gives it its full flavor, drowned out “oooh”s give way to a wonderfully fitting closing solo.
The album finishes with probably their strongest song. “Catholic Pagans”. This relatively short gem is comprised of great lyrics, a feedback ending, and pretty much everything that makes this band great.
For the most part Astro Coast does not fall in line with the much of what is considered “indie rock” today. It’s not an album that you need to clear your mind and your surroundings to grasp a hold of, and it doesn’t take multiple listens to finally “get it”. It is much too simple for that. This album will grab with the first note and kick you to your feet with the second. Needless to say it is a promising start from and up and coming band, and not bad for an album they recorded in their dorm room.
88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at technicianonline.com and wknc.org.