Surf City - Kudos

Tom Reed 26/10/2010

Rating: 1/5

When did surfing get so lazy? Back in the 50s and 60s, surf music was all about riotous energy and simple, memorable upbeat tunes from people like Dick Dale and the Surfaris. Now though, it seems surfers are more content listening to hazy, repetitive records drenched in reverb and weed smoke, probably spending more time lying horizontally on their boards than trying to actually catch a wave on them. It seems modern surf bands have spent more time listening to Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine than The Beach Boys.

These influences are pretty obvious throughout this record from New Zealanders Surf City, as almost every track is coated in a bleary, fuzzed up production and laid on top of persistent motorik beats. The guitars are pushed front and centre, but leave no real room for any of frontman Davin Stoddard's vocal melodies to shine through. One of the few that stick is on the lengthy Icy Lakes, but mainly that's because the guitars repeat the chorus line over and over for much of the song's 7 minutes.

The mellower tracks, such as Yakuza Park fare slightly better, the blissed out dreaminess of the production suiting the more relaxed tempos used here. It would be interesting to see how strong these songs are if they were stripped back, peeling off the layers and layers of effects and reverb might reveal some interesting ideas. Penultimate track CIA shows the band can add a bit of gonzo punk energy, but it comes a little too late to save this disappointing effort. Wanna go surfing? Nah, think I'll leave it thanks, sounds a bit dull.

Release date: 01/11/2010