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In the world of Surfer Blood, major-label maturity seems to mean stripping away the reverb that drenched your first album and, lyrically, graduating from middle school to high school.

Anybody who bought this album on the strength of the lead-off track and first single, "Demon Dance," is sure to be a tad disappointed, as nothing else on the album rocks as hard or proves as catchy. That is not to say the remaining nine tracks are throwaways, it's just that "Demon Dance" is one of the best songs of the year. If you are looking for your ca. 1993 alt-rock summer hummer, you have found it here.

Whereas "Demon Dance" is pure crunchy rock, the remainder of Pythons is pop sprinkled with the occasional edgy embellishment.

Surfer Blood's influences are easy to spot. Take the song "I Was Wrong," for example: the ’50s song template on steroids via Weezer, random yelling via the Pixies, and the crooning ache of Morrissey all in one three-and-a-half-minute package. The craziest homage, though, may be "Say Yes to Me," which sounds so much like the Smoking Popes that royalties (or at least a shout-out) are due.

Surfer Blood ain’t reinventing the wheel on Pythons, they’re just making the type of wheel that Weezer stopped making when they picked up Vanilla Ice’s bass player.

  • Album: Pythons
  • Artist: Surfer Blood
  • Label: Warner Bros
  • Songs: (1) Demon Dance (2) Gravity (3) Weird Shapes (4) I Was Wrong (5) Squeezing Blood (6) Say Yes to Me (7) Blair Witch (8) Needles and Pins (9) Slow Six (10) Prom Song
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