Let’s be honest—the name ‘Surfer Blood’ is a misnomer. It conjures images of ferocity, violence, and gory aftermath—things that come standard with metal or hardcore punk. But over time, and especially with the release of Tarot Classics another interpretation of this band’s name has made itself apparent. On this EP, the follow up to the band’s critically-acclaimed full-length Astro Coast, they have reinforced their sound as sunny, feel-good, and agreeable—the traits that surfers are, like, sure to embody, dude.
The ‘surfer blood’ certainly courses through this effort, and for fans of the group, that’s probably a good thing to hear. Surfer Blood have filled a nostalgia niche that hasn’t quite been done this effectively before—mixing the slightly-insecure pop-punk attitudes of latter-day Saves the Day and early-day Weezer with traditionalist, waltzy ‘60s pop. The intro song, “I’m Not Ready”, and the second track, “Miranda”, see the quartet wearing these influences on their wetsuit sleeves. There’s some indie adventurousness in there, too—you can hear it on the closing track, “Drinking Problem”, which opens with a slow, steady groove and features some Panda Bear-esque vocals. There are several influences running through this EP, but the boys of Surfer Blood reign themselves in so that it is systematically consistent and never too busy.
Aside from some awkwardly green lyrics (see “Voyager Reprise”: ‘heaven is a strange place / like outer space’), Tarot Classics suffers from brevity, even for a four-track EP. But that’s just the kind of music these guys specialize in—short bursts of decent, youthful pop songwriting. For many, this EP will suffice until Surfer Blood release more music for fellow boys and girls with warm, spunky surfer blood flowing through their indie veins.3 out of 5
Stream “Miranda” below.