Under Review: Surfer Blood – Astro Coast

With all the hero worship that goes on in the indie music world today, it’s both surprising and unsurprising that bands have only recently started to emulate the indie sound of the 1990s.  This could be explained in a number of ways: either (1) the generation of young men and women who grew up on ‘90s music are just now getting off their asses and starting bands, (2) the bank of influences from the 1960s-1980s has officially been wrung dry thanks to the innumerable amount of bands who model themselves after the psychedelic/glam/punk/new wave eras, or (3) they’ve been putting it off because music from the ‘90s generally sucked.  If you asked Florida’s Surfer Blood why they decided to make the kind of big, echo-soaked shout-rock that they do, they’d probably tell you that they just like it that way.  The quartet’s debut, Astro Coast (not to mention their name and debut single “Swim”), may lead you to believe that these guys are yet another group of privileged beach bums who decided to make an album about their feelings.  You’d only be partially right, because the boys have revealed an aversion to the stereotypical Florida beach scene.  Yes, “Swim” is the kind of anthem that bands like Pavement or GBV might have made out of irony, but Surfer Blood play it with such straightness and confidence that it’s hard to resist its charms.  “Swim’s” close cousin is “Twin Peaks,” another fuzzy power pop number that shows off some of the harmonies that the band is capable of once they calm things down a bit.  The album’s finest moment, “Take It Easy,” meshes a chamber-y guitar lick with a samba shuffle to create an unsteady yet fun groove.  As with most young bands, Surfer Blood often veer out of the range of proper musical etiquette: overusing certain phrases in the lyrics, and offering a “Fast Jabroni” and “Slow Jabroni” (though, to be fair, this is apparently an in-joke referencing the band’s original name).  Astro Coast is a strong but not overly-ambitious debut from a group of guys who obviously have a lot of fizz in them.  While most of the album sizzles, they might need a good shaking up if they want to really make an impression in the years to come.

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~ by E. on January 22, 2010.

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