Surf City | Kudos
Most Likely To: make you want to turn it up to eleven.
When we first met Surf City, they were successfully resurrecting the Jesus and Mary Chain, a task that countless other bands have tried (and failed) to accomplish. The Kiwi rockers’ self-titled EP debuted at the end of 2008. So what has Surf City been up to for the last two years?
On their debut full-length, Kudos, they move their sonic timeline forward by about a decade, and are now worshipping at the altar of early ‘90s alt-rock. Echoes of Pavement (“Kudos”), Painful-era Yo La Tengo (“Teacher”), and Jason Pierce’s entire back catalog (“Icy Lakes,” “Yakuza Park”) infuse the album.
Surf City is careful never to overspend their cultural capital. They borrow, they twist, and their songs emerge deeply indebted to their influences, yet still managing to eek out a unique identity. “Crazy Rulers of the World” offers echo-drenched, call-and-response vocals and a guitar lick so catchy that you’ll want to chat it up and buy it a drink.
The final track, “Zombies,” has a completely different feel from the rest of the record. If this last track is a sneak preview of things to come and Surf City keeps up their march through indie rock history at the same pace, then their follow-up to Kudos should sound a lot like Arcade Fire and Animal Collective circa 2004.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter who Surf City resembles as long as they sound this good. While typing this review I needed to turn up the volume successively at the start of each track. And though it is hard to type while vigorously air drumming, I managed to calm my inner Neil Peart long enough to tap out the following message: buy. this. record.
Listen to “Crazy Rulers of the World” from Surf City: