Sire Records // June 11th
Surfer Blood’s long awaited follow-up to 2010’s spectacular surf rock debut ‘Astro Coast’ is thoroughly enjoyable. Some of the raw energy and pure noise so prevalent on the self-recorded previous effort may well have been cleaned up and polished off by the slick producing skills of Gil Norton, but what’s lost in that sense is more than made up for through incredible songwriting and a relentless barrage of memorable hooks and melodies. ‘Demon Dance’, ‘Weird Shapes’, and ‘Prom Song’ are all instantly catchy pop gems, and nods to early Weezer, The Shins, and The Pixies are slightly more evident this time round. It’s not a massive deviation in sound by any stretch of the imagination – all the surf rock riffery and fuzzy basslining still play a huge part – but on ‘Pythons’ everything seems to have been honed in and kept in focus, and it really works a treat. If anything is missing, it’s probably the lack of a change in pace for the near entirety of the 34 minute playtime, ‘Slow Six’ being the only real deviation from the blitzkrieg of upbeat three minute pop nuggets.
Some may bemoan the significant toning down of the reverb-drenched distortedness present on their debut, but ‘Pythons’ truly succeeds in providing a finer balance between that childlike sense of chaos and fun with the more mature sensibilities of excellent songwriting. Sure, there may not be a track on there that quite reaches the anthemic heights of ‘Swim’, but it’s far more consistent throughout. And if the out-of-band issues don’t mess with your mind too much while you listen, it’s an absolute pleasure to take in.