Surfer Blood: Pythons Album Review

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01. Demon Dance
02. Gravity
03. Weird Shapes
04. I Was Wrong
05. Squeezing Blood
06. Say Yes To Me
07. Blair Witch
08. Needles and Pins
09. Slow Six
10. Prom Song
11. Bird 4 U (Bonus)
12. Phantom Limb (Bonus)
Surfer Blood’s third LP release, Pythons, finds the West Palm Beach band departing from their ’90s lo-fi inspired aesthetic that first garnered them critical success with their debut album, 2010’s Astro Coast. Leading up to its release, singles “Demon Dance”, “Weird Shapes”, and Record Store Day exclusive “Slow Six” caused confusion among listeners with the mish-mosh of genres lacking an identifiable musical direction. Despite this, the singles are a warm reminder of why we fell in love with Surfer Blood when they first came on the scene in 2010. “Demon Dance” finds the nautical loving band again with their classic muffled vocals and guitar rock coated in its new apparent sheen whereas slow burner “Slow Six”, released as an exclusive 7″ for this year’s past RSD, anxiously had fans waiting for it surface online and with good reason. Its surf hooks and power pop sound are like a warm hug from Astro Coast.

“No one else can lick their wounds the way I do when I’m with you.
When I say that I’m true blue, I hope you know that it’s all true.”

There’s a clear refinement in sound when listening to Pythons. The reverb drenched sound found on Astro Coast has made way for more straight forward guitar work and less distortion. This could be attributed to Surfer Blood signing to a major label but in all honesty, it doesn’t make much of a difference. If anything, this refinement allows listeners to fully appreciate the story telling lyricism that Surfer Blood are so attuned to.

With lyrics like “Damning allegations come to light, stapled to the background in black and white” as heard on “Squeezing Blood”, Pythons as far as subject matters go is a much darker album compared to its predecessors. And with lyrics like that, it doesn’t help but bring to mind singer John Paul Pitt’s 2012 arrest for domestic battery even though the album was fully written before the incident occurred. However useless gossip aside, Surfer Blood do what they do best: juxtapose the bleak with summery, surf pop melodies and addictive choruses to wipe the mind of any and all negativity. Pythons shines best with Pitt’s powerful vocals emitting nothing but raw emotion, heard best with his repeated refrain of “I was wrong” on the track of the same title. A much darker record but Pythons continues to be as fun as any of Surfer Blood’s previous releases. You may even find yourself singing it to yourself on a crowded train with other passengers staring at you. And if that happens, party on people.

Surfer Blood released track by track commentary videos for Pythons which you can watch here:

Surfer Blood is John Paul Pitts, Tyler Schwarz, Tom Fekete, Kevin Williams, Buster The Shark.


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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (She's basically a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

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