Tomorrow marks the return of Surfer Blood, the cozy, surf rock band out of West Palm Beach, FL. This is the band’s first new music since the tragic loss of founding member and original guitarist Thomas Fekete to a rare form of cancer in 2016. He was only 27 years-old. So for the first time singer John Paul Pitts had to take on all songwriting duties and the results are a mixed bag. The songs all tend to be more poppy, they are so unbelievably upbeat, that they tend to run together.
This is not to say that they are all forgettable. Songs like “Six Flags in F and G” and centerpiece “Snowdonia” show that the band may be evolving. They may be eschewing the radio friendly three-minute songs that defined the group’s sound in favor of more long form exploratory music. “Six Flags in F and G” starts out with a driving almost psychobilly riff that conjures the essence of both Dick Dale and Reverend Horton Heat in equal measures. At almost six minutes the song transforms at the halfway point into a Smiths-like chorus with female harmonies and a wah-wah guitar finish.
“Snowdonia” (which is a mountainous region in the north of Wales, I looked it up) begins with a simple repetitious guitar riff before it enters a verse that is almost formless, without any discernible chorus or refrains. It has saccharine sweet ohh and ahh harmonies before changing tempo completely about two minutes from the end of its almost eight-minute runtime.
The other standout song on the album is “Taking Care of Eddy” and you can tell it is going to be an incredible live song. Swirling guitars and a breakneck pace make it like no other song on the album, and because of that, it is a welcome addition. The lyrics are even a little dark, about taking care of elderly people. It goes from being a “fun time” to being “full time” in less than four minutes. It is the closest this band has ever come to being punk.
At only 38 minutes, this album goes by quickly, but unfortunately very little sticks with you after it is finished. The songs become incredibly catchy. After multiple listens, you will find yourself singing along whether you want to or not.
Snowdonia drops tomorrow, February 3rd. Buy it on white or black vinyl by clicking here!