Florida four-piece Surfer Blood might have spent too much time lying in the sun, listening to '90s indie-rock. On their debut album, Astro Coast, the similarities to Weezer, the Shins, Sebadoh, and Pavement keep crashing like waves.
When opening track "Floating Vibes" kicks in, it does so with Dinosaur Jr.'s "Feel the Pain" guitar, and for the chorus, singer-guitarist J.P. Pitts conjures Rivers Cuomo, harmonizing over the riff. On "Twin Peaks," Weezer's indie-rock influences resurface again, with Pitts singing the chorus as if it were a remake of 1994 hit "Undone (the Sweater Song)." The Weezer influences submerge on "Harmonix," as Surfer Blood goes from a scaled-down Pavement riff to a distorted groove found on early Sebadoh albums.
Overall, the songs on Astro Coast are catchy and clever, ranging from sunny, coastal vibes to jaw-clenching anthems, such as "Swim" and "Fast Jabroni." On "Slow Jabroni," the band drops anchor with emotive lyrics: "You better take some time to figure it out, 'cause if you don't you're going to do without."
While Surfer Blood is melodic and tuneful and Pitts's voice is strong and the guitar tones are heavy, they are too similar to bands past. While listening to Astro Coast, I feel as if a coconut from one of those Florida palm trees fell and hit me on the head, transporting me back to the '90s, tight thrift store sweaters and all.
I survived it. I am not ready to go back.
- Album title: Astro Coast (2010)
- Artist: Surfer Blood
- Label: Kanine
- Songs: (1) Floating Vibes, (2) Swim, (3) Take It Easy, (4) Harmonix, (5) Neighbour Riffs, (6) Twin Peaks, (7) Fast Jabroni, (8) Slow Jabroni, (9) Anchorage, (10) Catholic Pagans