Surfer Blood
Astro Coast


4.0
excellent

Review

by Peter Tabakis USER (8 Reviews)
January 24th, 2010 | 7 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Riffs, and big choruses, are aplenty on Surfer Blood's endearing debut album.

I suspect the boys of Surfer Blood have never met a guitar riff they didn't like. Their debut album, Astro Coast, is chockablock with big riffs, so many that some chord progressions veer into the territory of outright homage (or plagiarism, depending on your views on the matter) before abruptly shifting course. (I heard similarities to Bill Withers, Tears for Fears, and the Sure-Flo song from A Mighty Wind, of all things.)

Astro Coast hangs together, and largely succeeds, because of its excess and bigness. The album's breakout single, "Swim," is the perfect example. Lead singer John Paul Pitts' open-throated vocal is reverberated almost to the point of absurdity, while the bombastic pound of the drums threaten to blow out your speakers, and melodies don't get any bigger than its anthemic chorus. Like the surf rock that inspires the album's sound, the song should be ridiculous, but somehow all the elements come together to transcend their seeming flaws.

The rest of Astro Coast's songs don't reach the giddy heights of "Swim," but they come pretty close. The muscular "Floating Vibes" kicks off the album with aplomb, complete with hand claps and a classic surf-rock bass line. "Take It Easy" features a slinky chorus, and its syncopated beat, which is clearly indebted to Vampire Weekend, begs to be danced to. The excellent instrumental, "Neighbor Riffs," which bears more than a passing similarity to the Allman Brothers' "Jessica," is as good as that song form gets.

A number of critics have described Astro Coast as an update of Weezer's classic, Pinkerton. Lyrically, this is undoubtedly true, and it's especially evident in the sexual frustration of "Twin Peaks." But melodically I see more of a connection to the guitar-driven dance pop of Stone Roses' self-titled debut, though Surfer Blood's music is punchier, and sprightly in ways the Stone Roses never were. Tracks like "Harmonix" and "Slow Jabroni," if not directly influenced by the Roses, are closer to the "Madchester" sound than Weezer's proto-emo.

For all of its strengths, and there are many, Astro Coast almost paints Surfer Blood into a corner. The ephemeral nature of its primary influences can't sustain a redo for the band's second album. What remains to be seen is whether Surfer Blood can endure as surely as they endear here on their debut.



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user ratings (302)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
plane EMERITUS (4)
Astro Coast sounds like an honest representation of four gifted songwriters writing what they know a...

shootmepics (4)
An excellent debut album for the Florida based indie band, Surfer Blood....

zachbredberg (4)
Astro Coast's soothing guitar riffs and base lines shine, yet bring no original sound....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Emeritus
January 24th 2010


15760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is very very good

TheNewWhack
January 24th 2010


1510 Comments


Sounds interesting man. I'll have to give this a listen.

TheNewWhack
January 25th 2010


1510 Comments


Best avatar ever Mr. Hanson

timbo8
January 25th 2010


618 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ No, not as good as yours, Chris. Maryland represent. Album rules.

Kiran
Emeritus
January 25th 2010


6021 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

2010 has started so well

Skyler
January 25th 2010


1084 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I dig this band's sound. Nothing extraordinary though.

Asiatic667
January 25th 2010


4651 Comments


lets go surfing now everybodys learning how



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