Surfer Blood - Snowdonia

Surfer Blood – Snowdonia

When a family loses one of their own, it changes everyone in that family, for better or worse. The pain and grief can destroy them, or bring them closer together. Bands such as Led Zeppelin broke up after the tragic loss of John Bonham, but on the other side, bands like The Who and Rolling Stones persevered, and became stronger as a unit following the deaths of their friends, although many argue these bands eventually became parody acts of themselves, pointlessly, and aimlessly continuing in the pursuit of money.

This brings me to Surfer Blood, one of the more innovative and creative indie rock bands of the last decade. This year’s “Snowdonia” is their first record, after founding member and lead guitarist, Thomas Fekete, passed away last year, after battling with cancer for over a year. The first thing you recognise after turning on this album, is the clean, reverberated guitars, and the indie and surf rock blend that gave this band their initial success back in 2010. Not long after this opening, you can feel the music starting to hit a wall, and it suddenly feels a complete departure from the atmosphere of their older work. It feels like autopilot, it sounds dulled. There’s no feeling to it. No real upbeat, downtrodden, aggressive, whimsical feelings to the songs. It’s like it’s been lobotomised.

The biggest problem with this album, though, is that it feels repetitive, and a lot of the songs here let themselves down, and don’t flourish the way they should. After the strong opening to first track ‘Matter of Time’, its own chorus immediately lets it down, and from this disappointment on-wards, the rest of the album follows the similar formula, of a half decent opening, expectation, and ultimately being let down. The title track, feels bloated and repetitive, even with the sweet moments, and swirling, echoed guitar sounds on it. Every track on this album just feels off a bit, and not quite hitting the mark. ‘Snowdonia’ isn’t an overtly bad album, but the short album length, and almost directionless sounding songs, don’t make it a very good one.

Every loss has a profound effect on us, and I think losing such a big part of the band can be heard in the music. Hopefully Surfer Blood can find the right blend again and carry on, but this album is just a misfire.

The album is out now via Joyful Noise / Secretly Canadian

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