Surfer Blood - Astro Coast
Record Label: Kanine
Release Date: January 19, 2010
Surfer Blood are a much buzzed-about indie rock band from West Palm Beach, FL. Their debut full-length Astro Coast follows their highly praised single "Swim", which was released late last year.
How Is It?
As you might imagine, it's yet another interpretation of classic surf-rock, but as crowded as this scene seems to have gotten lately, most of its practitioners do the style quite well. Surfer Blood are no exception, and their varied approach makes for an intriguing album. "Swim" has about as much bombast as you'll find on an indie rock single, while songs like the opener "Floating Vibes" display a Teenage Fanclub-like expertise with catchy, buzzing riffs and sweet, summery melodies. Not content to be painted as one-dimensional, they take a page from the Vampire Weekend playbook on "Take It Easy", with its quirky rhythms and percussion.
Given their fuzzed-out sound, it's easy to make comparisons to Pavement's skewed lo-fi pop, and while that's occasionally an accurate depiction, Steven Malkmus and company were never in the business of writing in-your-face hooks like "Twin Peaks", which would almost feel at home in a cheesy '80s movie. Like Pavement, though, as well as the sunny '60s music it semi-imitates, it's prime slacker rock that refuses to take itself too seriously. "Never could hold still for long and I could never hold a job. Coupled with a weakness for cocaine and liquor not much you can do for love," vocalist John Paul Pitts sings on closing track "Catholic Pagans". No, I suppose not. And when he sings "Take it easy on me," on the deliberately unraveling "Slow Jabroni", it pretty much sums up the whole laid-back tone of Astro Coast. It's a charmed life, and with Surfer Blood writing the soundtrack, even the tiny bitter pills become that much easier to swallow.
For Fans Of: Teenage Fanclub, Army Navy, and Vampire Weekend