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Surfer Blood – Tarot Classics EP

Maria Turauskis


Tarot Classics is the new EP from indie rock quartet Surfer Blood. Out on 25th October, Tarot Classics is the first release from the band since their debut album Astro Coast released in 2010, which saw the West Palm Beach four-piece gain a huge amount of critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, as well as notable kudos from the whole indie spectrum.

Surfer Blood follow on from Astro Coast in much the same mode as previously, creating guitar driven, alternative indie rock with a strong American flavour. Mixing large amounts of garage rock and pop-punk, the group still have that fun, quirky vibe to their music, perhaps even more so than before, but there is also an element of self-awareness, tinged with a hint of insecurity. This geeky affability is probably partially why the group have been compared to Weezer in the past, but similarities between the bands are also evident in Surfer Blood’s music, from chord progressions and key signatures, to guitar timbres, to vocal delivery and lyrical content.

Surfer Blood’s music throughout this EP could also be compared to that of Cake; in fact, you could probably make associations with the work of Surfer Blood and a whole plethora of US 1990s/2000s alt rock acts, including Fountains of Wayne, Motion City Soundtrack and The Rentals. That is not to say that the group are stuck in a musical vacuum – their music does not sound dated. There is simply a clear genealogy to their sound. The music throughout Tarot Classics could also be compared to many hip and progressive contemporaries on the indie scene, such as The Drums, Tennis and Local Natives. There is notability less aloofness in Surfer Blood’s music to that of these acts however. Whilst they share a Morrissey influence with The Drums, especially on tracks such as Drinking Problem, each song on Tarot Classics has a subtly upbeat, whimsical side.

Like the group’s previous work, this EP is guitar centric, with a whole host of guitar sounds at the front of the mix. Twangy chops mix with wails and distorted segments, and the odd bit of shedding makes the occasional appearance. Numerous guitar parts are combined together in a highly harmonious fashion. The guitar is the focus throughout, which is refreshing, especially as it is done well. There are some synth sounds involved at times however, as well as interesting percussion and odd flecks of orchestral strings placed subtly, intricately and cleverly in the general texture of the track.

Tarot Classics is a nice little release from Surfer Blood then, and hopefully they might manage an LP at some point in the not too distant future.