Surfer Blood
1000 Palms



by humblerodent USER (29 Reviews)
May 12th, 2015 | 8 replies

Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One step forward and two steps back

Surfer Blood is an interesting outfit. They stormed onto the indie scene back in 2010 with “Astro Coast,” a catchy and chilled out -- if mostly forgettable -- summer record. Then, instead of resting on their laurels and pumping out more of the same, the band released “Pythons,” a 34-minute, cathartic exercise in phenomenal, Weezer-esque rock.

Which brings us to “1000 Palms,” the third record from the Florida based four-man band. And, after playing this record to death, I’m saddened to report Surfer Blood couldn’t recreate the indie rock magic they captured on “Pythons.”

The album clocks in at a brisk 37 minutes, and starts off in promising fashion with “Grand Inquisitor,” an angsty track that combines rumbling drums with reverberating guitars to great effect. This is followed up by “Island,” a song that begins with laidback bass lines and crooning vocals before transforming into a diverse amalgamation of distorted guitars riffs and rhythmic drum lines.

Yet, despite a strong opening, the album begins stagnating as soon that song finishes. “I Can’t Explain” repeats itself to distraction, and after a bit of a pick-me-up from the introspective “Feast/Famine,” the rest of “1000 Palms” is mostly unremarkable.

Songs like “Point of No Return,” “Dorian,” and “Other Desert Cities,” aren’t boring per say, but they don’t grip you like Surfer Blood’s work earlier in the album and on “Pythons.” Meanwhile, other tracks, namely “Covered Wagons” and closer “NW Passage,” are indeed boring and will have listeners reaching for the skip button.

Ultimately, “1000 Palms” isn’t a bad effort. There are some decent musical experimentation and intriguing song constructions to be found, but it falls short of the bar they set for themselves on their last record. “Pythons” was an emotional journey that hit the listener right in the gut, while “1000 Palms” merely meanders along tepidly in comparison. No screamed vocals, no frenetic instrumentation, and significantly less passion equals a record that simply isn’t as good.

There is a silver-lining, though. As mentioned above, Surfer Blood experimented with new sounds and instrumentation on this album, and that breeds hope that if they can rekindle the fire we know is lurking somewhere inside them, their next record could be something special indeed.

But until then, I’ll stick with “Pythons” when I need a Surfer Blood fix.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
May 12th 2015


Album Rating: 3.0

Originally published by The Daily of the University of Washington:

Such a let down after how good Pythons was

May 12th 2015


Man, it bums me out this didnt end up being good

May 12th 2015


Album Rating: 3.0

Me too my friend, me too

May 13th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Pythons was awesome, and i agree with you that this album just didn't have the same magic

May 13th 2015


I got excited when I saw the name Surfer Blood but I have yet to see anything about tiger sharks :c

Digging: Gutvoid - Durance of Lightless Horizons

May 13th 2015


Album Rating: 3.0

@rabbitpal: Thanks for the notes (especially the first one, that was lazy of me), this review was admittedly a bit rushed. Piece of advice for you, try not to be so condescending when you give people advice, they'll be more receptive (I happen to have thick skin when it comes to criticism because I know it just makes my future work better, but not all people have the same mindset). Also, the grammar mistake actually isn't a grammar mistake, "are" is referring to both the experimentation and construction.

@Zack Yeah I was real disappointed

@Sevengill Next album title? haha

May 14th 2015


I would buy the album even if I didn't like it. I have a borderline obsession with sea creatures.

September 2nd 2015


Album Rating: 3.2

Self-recorded and produced, '1000 Palms' sees Floridian quartet Surfer Blood attempt to head back to their D.I.Y roots. At its best when guitar is brought to the forefront, the melodies & harmonies aren't quite as sunny as they once used to be, with John Paul Pitts' vocals verging on monotone. Comfortable to the point of being in cruise-control, the only genuine change here is the addition of a few more synths. Nothing is downright awful & the album is actually quite a nice listen, but ultimately this 37 minutes worth is just too ho-hum & dour as it unenthusiastically wanders along with insufficient hooks. Recommended Tracks: I can't Explain, Feast/Famine & Saber-Tooth & Bone.

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