drugstore serif;”>Nearly two years after the release of their critically-acclaimed debut album, Astro Coast, Surfer Blood have returned with a short teaser of new material, in the form of EP, Tarot Classics.

The four-piece have made a bold move away from the cheerful summer vibes which coursed through Astro Coast and saw them placed alongside Beach House and The Drums as the new wave of indie rock. Perhaps the group are actively trying to distance themselves from their contemporaries, or maybe they’ve been feeling the cold snap as much as the rest of us, but it’s clear that there is a new-found sharpness and polish to the Surfer Blood aesthetic.

I’m Not Ready’ sets the tone from the outset – John Paul Pitts’ vocals take precedent over a simple melodic line and pared-down percussion, a far cry from the hectic, distorted sounds of their debut. Although the lyrics may not be poetic, the fast-paced delivery is insanely catchy – a stylistic trait which is relentless across the record, as Pitts seems to barely pause for breath throughout.

With ‘Miranda’, the boys already have a hit. All the ingredients of a commercial pop sensation are there – a stomping “woah-oh” accompaniment, a chanting chorus, and a girl’s name in the title.

Some might say it’s a bit early to start referencing your own work on a second release, but that’s what ‘Voyager Reprise’ is built upon. With elements of the previous two songs incorporated into its melodies, the result is rather repetitive, and can feel overwhelming when you consider that there are just four songs on the record. However, the use of keyboards and strings save it from feeling stale, and are hopefully a sign of more experimentation on their upcoming sophomore LP.

Closing track ‘Drinking Problem’ is a slower-paced, sing-along lament with a serious undertone – a step in the right direction for a group which is evidently trying to escape from the pigeon-hole of trendy surf pop.

Overall, Tarot Classics is an excellent sample of the maturity and focus of the Floridian quartet, and will certainly tide fans over until the release of their second album next year.


Lorna Verdon