Surfer Blood: Astro Coast (Kanine) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #29 - Year End 2009 - Best of the DecadeSurfer Blood

Astro Coast


Feb 01, 2010 Issue #29 - Year End 2009 - Best of the Decade Bookmark and Share

A timeless pop song never goes out of fashion. From The Beatles, to R.E.M., to The Shins, a simple three-chord track that raises goose bumps is perhaps the most alchemical device in music. Florida’s Surfer Blood are acutely aware of these possibilities, and on their debut Astro Coast, they shimmy and sway through 10 tracks copiously laden with chill-inducing hooks.

Reverb-heavy harmonies redolent of Teenage Fanclub circa Bandwagonesque usher in opener “Floating Vibes.” But it’s the bass line that’s truly superb, intertwining with the kick drum while effortlessly filling in the space between the vocals and guitar notes in McCartney-esque fashion.

The band evinces a certain lyrical darkness that belies their saccharine melodies. “Twin Peaks” is a Big Star-like sparkling rave-up finding JP Pitts yearning, “Close contact on the couch was fine/Twin Peaks and David Lynch/You must be getting sour too.”

Flannery O’Connor also looms large for these southerners, especially on “Catholic Pagans,” ostensibly an homage to the master of the grotesque. It’s a deceptively simple pop song in the vein of Pavement’s “Shady Lane,” but there’s an underlying gravitas, as Pitts desperately croons of “A weakness for cocaine and liquor/Not much you can do for love.”

It’s stunningly close to being a masterful pop record, one exhibiting a tremendous amount of love and care in its meticulous level of craft. But, to paraphrase a Shins song, caring can still be creepy, and it’s this dichotomy that elevates Surfer Blood to a rarified echelon of pop craftsmen. (

Author rating: 8/10

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