Surfer Blood made its debut with Astro Coast early last year, striking when the iron was hot during surf rock’s rejuvenation. With bands like Real Estate and Beach Fossils finding success with their brand of ocean-side indie rock, Surfer Blood found fast acceptance among listeners. Their buzz-heavy single “Swim” made it especially easy – something that Real Estate and Beach Fossils lacked. The group has returned with the four-track EP Tarot Classics that retains their slacker charm but shows progression from their debut.
Tarot Classics remains guitar-focused and though the music seems fit for a late night party at the beach, elements of ’90s alternative bands like Pavement and Weezer play heavy as influences on their sound. No song is short of colossal riffs.
Lyrically, Classics doesn’t stray far from the themes of friendship and relationships on Astro Coast. The opener “I’m Not Ready” has some venom behind it, as singer John Paul Pitts addresses a friend making bad decisions with his life. The following track “Miranda” deals with a failed relationship. The immediacy of both songs is quite noticeable from the more laid-back approach that the band used on Astro Coast.
While the band’s rock structure is still intact, it adds some new tricks to their repertoire with a synthesizer break near the middle of “Voyager Reprise.” The group also toys with atmosphere on the immersing final track “Drinking Problem,” where Pitts sings through echoed vocals, “At least I know who my friends are,” as he addresses another former friend who is unwilling to deal with sobriety. Pitts’ reflections on the actions of the people around him speaks to the EP’s fortune-telling title. By commenting on their present, he’s also giving them a glimpse into their future. Pitts never remarks on himself or the band.
However, if I had to lay a row of cards across a table, I’d say that the future looks bright for Surfer Blood.