Surf rock has come a long way since The Ventures, and to be honest, most of that journey has not made for pleasant listening. Sure, there are the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean, but, typically, purveyors of Orange County's lamest export have been generally indistinguishable: all mid-tempo, reverb, whammy bar, no originality. And I may be the only one who feels this way, but a lot of the current surf-y jangle revival — Wavves, etc. — isn't really doing it for me. So it's hard for me to agree when every review of Surfer Blood — glowing as it may be — lumps the band into such an undistinguished genre. Sure, they come from Palm Beach, there's a little tremolo picking in their debut album, Astro Coast, and their first three tracks are called "Floating Vibes," "Swim" and "Take It Easy," but the band is really all about power chords, clever lyrics, and catchy hooks that can compete with the best indie pop out there. I may disagree with Pitchfork, Village Voice and everyone else about how to pigeonhole these guys, but at least we all agree that if this is surf rock, surf rock doesn't actually suck as bad as I'd always thought.
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