By Matt Craig Burke
Driving, biking, cooking, painting, petting cats… All were done while I soaked in Surfer Blood’s latest installment, 1,000 Palms. Other than being thoroughly enjoyable, it also offers instant replay value that makes for a better listen each time around. The whole album is an upper, never boring or feeling drawn-out, and with no song fleeing over four and a half minutes, you’re ready for a second serving.
Its calm before the storm on the sporadic beginning of “Grand Inquisitor” which starts off pleasantly until its uneasy temper kicks in with rolling drums and scattered guitars that demand attention. Each song has its own personality, while remaining consistent. With John Paul Pitt’s laid-back vocals, sentimental lyrics, high to low melodies, and rhythmic guitar, songs like, “I Can’t Explain” captures the feeling of swimming under the sea with the Little Mermaid. The spinal drumming of Tyler Schwarz causes tension and release on “Point of No Return” as it cuts through the thick Florida air that breaths throughout the record. Pitt’s lyrics hint at frustration on “Feast/Famine” yet, instrumentally sounding easy-going while providing vocal harmonies that cement Surfer Blood’s signature surf-rock sound. The group is more than just a surf-rock band though, when the mind starts to drift from listening; rhythm changes, breaks, build-ups, stops, and pauses, keep your ears on their feet (wait… What?). “Island” and “Covered Wagons” add variety with splashes of calm and collision. Going coastal are songs “Dorian” and “Into Catacombs”… both tracks forced me to buy an eye patch and a boat to sail the sea.
Diving deeper with each listen, it becomes apparent that the album feels more mature and dynamic compared to the bands earlier efforts. The boys are growing with their music and thats great! What is also great is that swimming with mermaids, sailing the sea, and petting cats pair perfectly with Florida’s native Surfer Blood. I enjoyed it from start to finish and its tough finding albums that don’t run after awhile, but 1,000 Palms is soaking wet, it hits the spot.