Surfer Blood – Pythons

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

Back in 2010, these Floridians busted their way into the music scene with their garage rock with their debut album Astrocoast, which received widespread praise for its catchy singles and interesting riffs. Following that, the band released an EP, Tarot Classics, last year, which rekindled interest among fans and reminded them that Surfer Blood has more music yet to come. Enter Pythons.

At a length of ten songs, you can tell from first glance that Surfer Blood want to stick with what they know works as far as albums go, as this sophomore effort is the same length as their debut. However, in terms of song length, none of the tracks on this album seem to last all that long, and the longest track ends up not even hitting the 4 and a half minute mark. These songs are briefer, snappier, and stray away from the nautical theme that the band seemed to be inclined to on the last record. In its place remains the same garage rock built around heavily buzzing guitar parts, with some tweaks here and there to spice things up. Although one wouldn’t think this is true from listening to “Demon Days,” which retains the same reverb coated vocals of John Paul Pitts and overall sound of the group.

Not to worry, there are changes to come that prove to be different in all the right ways for Surfer Blood. Third up on “Weird Shapes,” you get this metal feeling riff that opens the song, which continues through the song. Along with this comes a bit of screaming in the chorus from John Paul Pitts, but the quick paced and extra rhyming lyrics add back to the playfulness of the song and keeps it from becoming too much metal for this band. Later on the album, comes “Say Yes To Me,” which is fast paced and amped up, which works for Surfer Blood’s sound. The vocals seem to be clearer with slightly less reverb and more attention to the ability of Pitts. Last up is “Prom Song,” which is a slower number that relies on the ever-steady percussion to carry it a little slower. Overall, something about this track, possibly the guitar riff itself, reminds me of early Weezer, and the slowness gets burned away towards the end of the song so that the album can finish on a high note, with guitars a blazin’ and a power chord to end things right.

Before you know it, you’ve burned through the whole album, which is 34 minutes and feels like 20. However, like most albums that are short and sweet, the sweetness on Pythons is perhaps too short-lived and not designed with the intent of listening longevity. I worry that with these shorter numbers comes a shorter life for Pythons in my listening catalogue, but this is a fear not yet realized, as I continue to press play again and again.

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