Album Review: Surfer Blood – 1000 Palms
Florida’s Surfer Blood rode to our shores with debut Astro Coast in 2010, praised for their Weezer-meets-Morrissey indie-pop. Signed by a major label to release 2013’s Pythons, only for each party to dump the other following the difficult second album, 1000 Palms has them return to their DIY roots. However where Astro Coast had a sense of immediacy, this is languid and dazed. Grand Inquisitor and Island open the album strongly with promising big guitars but by I Can’t Explain, the album’s first single, singer John Paul Pitts’ sweet and sincere vocals, with Tyler Shwartz’s fuzzy guitar, settle on a particular current that more or less washes under you in a Beach Boy-influenced indie-pop with harmonies, heart-breaks and the odd bad trip. Along with the opening two tracks, Feast – Famine and Dorian are hooky, while the final, acoustic NW Passage offers a much-needed gear-change but it arrives that’s too little, too late.
Surfer Blood felt ripe to bounce back in that tradition of bands whose second record doesn’t live up to the first, only to wow with the third.
Unfortunately 1000 Palms is still only middling to, at best, pleasantly unsettling. It never quite becomes thrilling or threatening the way Astro Coast was. Fans of the band should seek it out for a listen to see if there’s the odd song to make their winter playlist, but newcomers to the band are far better off jumping back to the excellent Astro Coast.
1000 Palms is out now via Spunk
Review by Colin Delaney