You wouldn’t know at a glance that Surfer Blood is a highly decorated group with a decade of professional experience: four studio albums, live television performances and an array of festivals contradict their modest appearance. The gents, and lady, of Surfer Blood, are a bunch of dreamers, big dreamers whose dreams have already come true, but who continue to dream. The band’s 2019 EP, Hourly Haunts, is eighteen minutes of a promise embedded in surf-rock music that genuinely haunts.
Each track is a sonic will-o’-the-wisp that lingers and fascinates, and it all begins with “Around Your Sun.” The opening track is upbeat, charging at the ears with a slick guitar riff that parts the atmospheric distortion, contrasting the cheery vocals reminiscing on a turbulent romance, it all fits. The vocal inflection is on point with the ’50s surf-rock the band embraces. Soda pop, bubbly but with a modern polish is how one could describe Surfer Blood’s music.
“Cariboo” keeps the pace and surf theme going, but the sustained guitars and sugary vocal harmonies create a cleaner ambiance. The sounds are bright here: from the tambourine to the slippery guitar solo in the song’s climax; the music cascades down toward the heart with its cheer and enthusiastic tinge.
Enter with a seemingly Strokes-inspired overture the short and sweet third track “Windy.” The song is full of layers and fun, heavy with deliciously sounding drums and a stout bassline rich in dynamics. The classic ’50s surf-rock harmonies are the sprinkles on top of this decadently gooey sonic treat.
“Nm Sky Song” is a breezy romance that speaks of galaxies, astronauts and castles; ever the dreamers, Surfer Blood lets loose here. The song’s pop hook is smooth and lazy enough to relax the senses: the guitar solo melts and washes over you like a rinse after a long beach day. The band does a great job of letting the music speak its own language, one separate from the escapist lyrics.
The classic surf-rock track on the record, “Atom Bomb,” is guided by the snappy snare rhythm associated with the genre. The reverb is cranked up, and the harmonies just right. Each song on the record allows guitarist Mike McCleary a chance to show off his skills, and in this one, his influence is particularly piquant.
The end comes with the easy-going and aptly-titled “Edge of the World” a track that completes the promise of a band born out of friendship, bonded in friendship and rescued by friendship. The group has soldiered on despite tragedy, set its sights on larger dreams and above all remained faithful to the innocence that the genre they pay tribute to demands: bravo.