Monday, March 23, 2015

REVIEW: Surf City - Jekyll Island

Surf City never fails to impress me with their vision for guitar pop.  Elements include chiming and jangling New Zealand rock, touches of The Jesus and Mary Chain shoegaze, and Yo La Tengo psychedelic pop.  In the hands of this Auckland foursome the sound is fresh, irrepressibly jaunty and delivered with energy and a breathlessly propulsive rhythm section.  The latest edition is Jekyll Island.  While the band always has been purveyors of rousing jams, this record  in tighter and more focused, and I think it is among their best work yet.

The eleven songs that comprise Jekyll Island are bracketed with psychedelic jams, commencing with the more intense "Beat the Summer Heat" and closing with the more relaxed "Jesus Elvis Coca Cola".  In between you'll find reverb drenched sing alongs with loads of hooks and fuzz.  My favorites include "Hollow Veins" and "Thumbs Up", which has an appealing sound like their south island countrymen, The Bats, and the Pavement-like "Leave Your Worries".  The guitarists weave their magic, and the new rhythm section is crisp and hard.  The production is clean but unfussy, letting the songs and the bands' energy carry the day.  This is highly recommended.

Surf City are Davin Stoddard, Jamie Kennedy, Mike Ellis and Andy Frost.  Davin (guitar/vocals) and Jamie are original members, with Jamie moving from bass to guitar for this album.  Jekyll Island is out this week on Fire Records worldwide, and Popfrenzy Recordings in Australia.

Fire Records
Popfrenzy Recordings

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