Surfer Blood at Rough Trade East
Surfer Blood made waves with their homemade debut Astro Coast back in 2010 and now they’ve signed to Warner Bros. In many ways, it’s a risk for a successful indie band to sign to a major label. It can appear almost treasonous, especially when a band’s rise through the indie ranks has been so well received. The Florida quartet’s debut was lauded for its lovable blend of Pixies dynamics, Pavement hooks and the sunny melodies of Pet Sounds.
Their major label follow-up Pythons, produced by Gil Norton (Fleet Foxes, Pixies), is a relatively sober and slick affair, far removed from the rough-around-the-edges fun of Astro Coast, yet the band’s signature melodic heart persists.
Like so many, they took to the stage at Rough Trade East greeted by a somewhat less than endearing crowd. Record store audiences always need a little warming up, but the sweeping indie pop majesty of Floating Vibes made short work of it. The Pixies’ influence has far from dwindled with lead singer John Paul Pitts and guitarist Thomas Fekete swapping guitar hooks straight from the Joey Santiago backlog. Pitts’ vocal performance evoked Brian Wilson and Black Francis, ably soaring through the bittersweet new track Gravity, then quickly yelling through Pythons’ lead single Weird Shape. Both Pitts and Fekete’s increasingly playful guitar work added colour, and the rhythm section coolly navigated the set’s varying dynamics.
Though grounded by classics from their debut, the set was a roughly even split between old and new material. New songs evoked some of Pitts’ fiercest singing, particularly during the heavy climax of Demon Dance, where the singer apologised to the front row before careening back into the fray: “Sorry if you’re getting spit on. I can’t help it.”
Sometimes in-stores can feel like a band taking the night off, but Surfer Blood played straight from the heart.
Photos: Charlotte Bruning
For further information about Surfer Blood and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Summertime in My Heart here: