Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand, one imagines Surf City’s name borrows as much from their country’s diverse panoply of sports as much as they do from Brian Wilson. As you’d expect Jekyll Island is sun-drenched but with a keen ear for extended fuzz workouts. Out on CD and vinyl LP from Fire.
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CD £11.49 FIRECD395
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There’s only so many psych/retro records you can take. It may not be Surf City’s fault that we have reached crisis point but they don’t help themselves by doing the exact same thing that so many others are doing; namely motorik rhythms, druggy vocals and a vague sense of Spacemen 3 and '90’s slacker indie.
Opener ‘Beat The Summer Heat’ plods endlessly never developing or moving on from how it sets out its stall. ‘Spec City’ sounds more in the vein of New Zealand’s The Chills but adds nothing new to the template. I keep expecting the album to kick into life but the record is just a mish-mash of already made sounds without the songwriting nous to push it into new territories. ‘Hollow Veins’ is a case in point - what does this song offer that can’t be found in any old Lou Reed number from yesteryear? To prove their point they recycle the chords from ‘What Goes On’ in ‘One Too Many Things’ and the riffs from ‘Leave Your Worries’ will be familiar to everyone who has heard a Pavement record. But where Malkmus always introduced the unexpected - the vocals and melody here are so obvious. When the exact same riff turns up on the following ‘Indian Summer’ I’m starting to think they are taking the piss.
To many this will be an enjoyable and non threatening romp through the annals of slacker rock but I’m finding it lacking in inspiration and even the belated The Clean-like NZ pop of the enjoyable ‘Thumbs Up’ is too late to save it.
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