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The catchiest band since late 2009 have revealed their magnificent debut album. It surfaced the horizon at the end of last year, a time in which people were too busy compiling numerous lists, a time when people were too busy to listen to music because they were writing about it. Surfer Blood appeared from nowhere and are again, one of those bands with a big ambition with a too little audience. And with this album, they’ve made people remember their affection for 80s dream pop and anthem rock.
A beautiful guitar riff part way through the second track, Swim, is the glorious moment that you realise what you’ve come across. It’s like when you aren’t paying attention to a pretty boring conversation but then your friend suddenly tells you something that you wanted to hear and your eyes widen and suddenly look up, like a dog hearing the high pitched viscous meow from the cat living next door. These moments are plentiful throughout the whole album, particularly in Twin Peaks and Catholic Pagans – In that sense they are much like Pixies, minus the incestuous tendencies. With Surfer Blood, the lyrics don’t come first and the guitar riffs are considered to be on an equal level.
Astrocoast isn’t anything groundbreaking; it’s just genuine heartfelt ultra-indie. There’s a perfect ratio of jangly pop to slow jams, this is reinforced by the fact that there’s two songs on the album named Fast Jabroni and Slow Jabroni – the names are literal. They’re ballads of youth and taking things for granted and young love. The album is very… cute, cute in a boy pulling a girls hair because he likes her kind of way. Ironically though, Surfer Blood sounds like a more mature Wavves. These guys are talented and actually use their guitars as instruments and experiment as opposed to all these noise bands using them as props for their look, taking them for granted. Surfer Blood’s master craft is sculpting sharp brilliant songs from something that ultimately seems actually quite boring.
On the latter half of the album the songs aren’t instantly as attractive as the former half, but that’s not to say they don’t match up after a few listens. The aforementioned songs Fast Jabroni and Slow Jabroni are good examples of this. They both aren’t easy to get into and seem like low points of the album at first, especially Slow Jabroni. And Anchorage could be a tad shorter. But these all reveal their true bodies after a few more listens.
Astrocoast is another dint in the hard to break barrier of this lo-fi domination that’s going on. Kicking Times New Viking, Wavves, HEALTH and so many others to the ground and saying “fuck you”. The jams provided on the album are just a hint of what’s to come, hopefully.