Before I get stuck into this delectable debut, I want to make this clear; this is a full on guitar album. Unlike so many bands of late, rather than fiddling around on laptops looking for unique tones, these guys would rather turn up the gain and release the power chords.
Surfer Blood were slapped onto all the upcoming lists for 2010, gaining suitable praise and pressure to boot in anticipation. Success is a tough mountain to climb nowadays for bands that stick to the chalk and cheese of guitar and drums, however these guys are one of the few to pull it off.
There is Soft Pack-esque garage-rock stylings in here, pokey hooks made famous via Vampire Weekend, and vocals that bring on memories of the Beach Boys. It is almost in the realms of grunge; not quite Nirvana, think more Weezer or Pavement. Above all however, Surfer Blood’s idiosyncrasy is the glorious yet subtle exploitation of reverb. Listen to ‘Take It Easy’ from the disjointed intro to the smooth groove-ridden exit for a perfect example of this.
The first single release was ‘Swim’, a riff based stormer that doesn’t waste any time in introducing itself. Singer JP Pitts’ vocals soar high above the instruments, drenched in that tasteful, echoey reverb moving from riff to riff; Rivers Cuomo would be proud.
What I like about this band is that there are no oddball areas in these songs, no sidetracks into other genres or want for artistic innovation. Astro Coast is an album of youthful, guitar songs that may have elements pinched from other bands but enough catchiness for me not to care.