On their debut album, 2010’s Astro Coast, Surfer Blood made a name for themselves that stretched beyond the blogs, thanks largely to the anthemic nature of “Swim” and an all-around consistent batch of charming harmonies that showcased a heartwarming indie innocence last heard in the ’90s. It’s been nearly two years, and the band’s Tarot Classics EP serves as their final effort for Kanine Records, as well as a brief, yet appropriate, layover while fans await their major label full-length debut.
Surfer Blood stated that they would move away from the lo-fi sounds that made up much of Astro Coast, and we get a taste of that with “Miranda”. John Paul Pitts’ melancholic falsetto remains intact, while their knack for pop melodies laced in romanticism is pushed to the forefront. Shortly after, the upbeat energy present on “I’m Not Ready” reminds us that the simple yet intricate, surf-pop-rooted riffs, previously heard on “Take It Easy” and “Floating Vibes”, were no happy accident. The difference is that Surfer Blood prove to be less reliant on bass-heavy sounds. Lightening their load in such a way will surely push the four-piece into a more mainstream spotlight, and it’s a perfect adjustment, allowing them to explore the carefree college rock nostalgia that their debut hinted at.
How fitting, then, that Surfer Blood are currently touring with the Pixies, whose famous indie rock sound also offered flirtations with surf-rock as they upgraded their squealing riffs into stadium-ready melodies. Whether or not these Floridians can successfully hold our attention as they strip themselves of the reverb that had critics applauding in the first place remains a mystery, but if Tarot Classics is any indication of what’s to come, listeners should find themselves happily humming along.
Essential Tracks: “Miranda” and “I’m Not Ready”