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Surf City: Kudos [Album Review]


At first, I found Surf City to give off those lo-fi garage vibes, with loud, swirling guitars and dreamy barely decipherable vocals. This led me to jot down a quick description; Surf City creates harmonically blissful, fuzzed-out lo-fi pop. As Kudos continues, I began hearing traces of psych-pop which ultimately morphed into a continual, hazy drone. There’s a lot more behind Surf City than a mere garage rock/pop band, that’s for sure.

Often we’re treated with simple melodies, as heard in the chorus of “See How The Sun”. These fit pop senibilities. But as the haze and drone and fuzz come to dominate the listener’s existence, Kudos becomes an epic lo-fi album, burning with influences that span the board from 60s pop wonders The Zombies to the masters themselves (Jesus And Mary Chain, from whom their name was inspired), to the eccentricities that made Velvet Underground’s wild side so great.

No, Kudos is not your replacement for Andy Warhol. It is, however, an interesting modern release by an artist that has taken one of today’s most treasured sounds and added increments from highly treasured influences. The result takes a sound made popular again by bands like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Girls and Real Estate, but takes it up a notch technically and experimentally.

Kudos hits all the right notes, as “Icy Lakes” dives into a wild guitar foray and as “Yakuza Park” mixes in electronics to rival a tamed Animal Collective. Then there’s the infectiously bouncy “Retro” and the impeccably insane “Autumn”.

Through all of this, it quickly becomes apparent that Surf City is not your typical lo-fi, fuzz-pop band. There’s a lot more that sits just below the surface and you’ll hear it if you give it a good listen. Kudos is, as my friend Monique would say, totally legit. Hey everyone, meet your new favorite band from New Zealand: Surf City.

Download: “Kudos” by Surf City
[audio:101220-surf-city-kudos.mp3|titles=Kudos|artists=Surf City]

Download: “Crazy Rulers Of The World” by Surf City
[audio:101220-surf-city-crazy-rulers-of-the-world.mp3|titles=Crazy Rulers Of The World|artists=Surf City]


Fire Records [CD, 2010]

1. Crazy Rulers Of The World
2. See How The Sun
3. Kudos
4. Icy Lakes
5. Teachers
6. Yakuza Park
7. Retro
8. In Times Of Approach
9. Autumn
10. CIA
11. Zombies

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