ALBUM REVIEW: Astro Coast (Surfer Blood)

22 Jul

Astrocoast is the debut LP from laidback indie rockers Surfer Blood. Hailed by the Guardian as “the buzz band’s buzz band”, Astrocoast wastes no time in launching into their particular brand of energetic rock, giving a strong first impression of ‘guitar’.

Reminiscent of Weezer, but with a twist that’s all their own, Surfer Blood utilise their guitars in a way that relentlessly attacks the listener’s ears. “Swim”, the much hyped single, is probably the most well known and has an exciting start which builds up into an intense crescendo by the chorus, leaving the listener swept along by the dizzying sound.

But “Swim” isn’t the stand-out of the record. In fact, there is no stand-out; all the songs are solid and catchy, with hum-along riffs that easily get stuck in a listener’s head. The album was recorded in a Florida dorm-room, and the feel of sun and fun is interlaced with each song. Surfer Blood could be categorised unarguably as power-pop, but they are also more than that: the build up in the compositions of each song also serve to break them out of such a simple label.

While the guitars are an essential part of the record, Surfer Blood manage to avoid the route of simply making noise. The explosions are definitely controlled, and often managed as neat guitar solos. The two longest tracks are back to back which creates the risk of a loss of interest and monotony but, although perhaps not the best order, the tracks complement each other and are entertaining without becoming repetitive. Surfer Blood are anything but a one-trick wonder; each song is distinctive in its own way and individual from the last.

Astrocoast was recorded in a Florida dorm room and the simplicity shows through in the album. It is, essentially, an indie-rock album made by people who like indie-rock. It’s not trying to be overly ambitious or complex. Instead, Surfer Blood set out to make a good, stream-lined record and did just that. When today’s indie scene appears to be about pretention and image, Astrocoast presents a refreshing change.

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