Surfer Blood | Tarot Classics

Kanine (2011)
By DAN WEISS  |  October 18, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars


This is a literal holdover. A charming band of Floridians who realized their musical dream in a dorm room, they made the difficult push to Pitchfork ascendancy and won what they really wanted: a major label deal. I'm not being cynical; Surfer Blood's "Swim" and "Floating Vibes" had riffs too big for the echoey swamps from whence they came, even if parent album Astro Coast was quietly glorious. John Paul Pitts is a thoughtful lyricist and whatever his guitar-playing gifts (perfect on the jubilant "Take It Easy"), he folded in smart orchestral and glockenspiel bits. Drummer TJ Schwarz is known to man several percussion kits at once onstage. Clearly these guys care a hell of a lot about arrangement and deep musical inventory, and lo-fi is too limiting. So we all await their Contra, hopefully on Warner Bros., next year. For now, these four remaining songs from their indie days are perfectly competent, reminiscent of the Pixies, and hard to remember even though they're perfectly tuneful. For proof they're too hungry to settle for boiled-down, straight vocal-guitar rock, check out the detour after only one chorus in their 2010 breakout, "Swim" — linear doesn't suit them.
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