There's no shortage of surfer vibes around is there? From Wavves to Weezer to The Drums to Vampire Weekend, it seems like everyone is digging out their Beach Boys records for inspiration in the last couple of years.
Surfer Blood could just be another also ran, the US indie market is fairly crowded at the moment, and the Floridians have got to the crest of this wave a little late.
However, the surprise is that what hits you within the first few bars of Astrocoast is its crisp, melodic freshness. Isaac Brock's mature vocals and the beefy, big guitars convince of their potential not just half heartedly, but with a confident swagger reminiscent of early Weezer. Opener 'Floating Vibes' and the muscular single 'Swim' are two blasts of hot, salty summer air. 'Neighbour Riffs' similarly has a brilliant, runaway youthfulness about it.
Whilst there are brilliant pop songs in abundance on 'Astrocoast,' there are a couple of flaccid offerings which could have been spared the cut. For instance, "Take it Easy" is a straight lift from a Vampire Weekend song, with the spare drumming, delay guitar and the wimpy calico sentiment of "we should take it easy/or we will both be sorry." But next there lies the clever "Harmonix," and a creeping sense of unease gathers to the song's whip-sharp coda.
Their youthful, frivolous songwriting covers everything from David Lynch to references to wrestling. Incidentally, the slower 'Jabroni' is the superior one, and a serious moment on an otherwise light-hearted LP. The plaintive refrain 'take some time to figure it out/cos if you don't you gotta do without,' is singular and affecting.
Not that you should over analyse too much. Surfer Blood know the value of simplicity and a contagious melody, and that's what Astro Coast does well. A modern, inspiring pop album that raises hopes for the future of American guitar music.