An endless supply of songs worthy of closing or opening a Hollywood blockbuster...
Jamie Milton
11:30 18th January 2010

So these “Surfer Kids”? They are the target of Surfer Blood’s hate. You assume them to be the kind who make a fool out of themselves in American Pie but always get the girl. Or the American footballers in the background of newly-fashioned TV show Glee; the kind that goof around and give the occasional high five, but again, always get the girl. ‘Astrocoast’ gives life to every gritting of teeth and fully-formed scowl this Florida five-piece gave in their not so distant youth. And it truly erupts out of them.
‘Swim (To Reach The End)’ is the finest example of this; vocals, dripping from head to toe with reverb, given authority in the mix and giving life to an otherwise fairly plain (albeit catchy) song. At first site it’s grizzly and worthy of keeping distance from, but it’s the more sunset-friendly guitar tones that gradually emerge out of ‘Swim…’ that give it the edge. So that’s one song; a song that broke Surfer Blood, gave them a flood of Weezer comparisons and will probably annoy the hell out of them in years to come. The reason? Because it’s probably the song that defines the band’s sound least suitably.
‘Astrocoast’ is a surprisingly diverse work, blending afro-pop with smart, gentle build-up, coming out like a cross between (only the second mention) Weezer and a bitter version of Phoenix. ‘Take It Easy’ completes a hefty trio of likeable opening songs, following breezy, smart opener ‘Floating Vibes’ and the aforementioned ‘Swim…’, sporting bongo drum patterns and acoustically-embedded guitar rhythms, injecting a Vampire Weekend comparison into proceedings.
What follows is an endless supply of songs worthy of closing or opening a Hollywood blockbuster, capable of breaking the charts and becoming something of an anthem for the year to come (‘Catholic Pagans’, ‘Twin Peaks’, ‘Neighbours Riffs’ are all ironically worthy of defining the surfer kids’ summers). Not one effort wavers from a consistent stock of dreamy, layered guitar-bred rock and although the occasional change of structure would ensure more longevity for the album, it’s very nearly faultless.
It’s also refreshing to see a band that could so easily have under-produced their debut and allowed it to float into a lo-fi state to receive praise for its rough edges, not to do so. ‘Astrocoast’ achieves just the right balance between polished and coarse, giving well-written songs a good home.