Release Date: Feb 3, 2017
Record label: Joyful Noise
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
After their 2010 debut Astro Coast became a much deserved breakout indie hit, Surfer Blood hit some unexpected and tragic stumbling blocks. Their 2013 major label debut and sophomore LP Pythons was widely viewed as a disappointment and 2015's 1000 Palms didn't do much to dissuade naysayers and retrieve their lost momentum. Then longtime bassist Kevin Williams left in 2015.
Surfer Blood's fourth album Snowdonia arrives with something the band hasn't experienced in a long time: good will. After frontman John Paul Pitts' 2012 arrest for domestic battery instantly transformed the band from potential indie-rock mainstays into permanently damaged goods, he at times seemed to carry on the group out of sheer spite. Their 2013 album Pythons opened with him eating literal sour grapes and only got nastier from there; listeners understandably steered clear of it.
Cancer robbed Surfer Blood of guitarist Thomas Fekete in 2016, but their fourth album has somehow managed to avoid being crushed by such devastating news. It actually finds the newly assembled four-piece sounding rather joyous. It would seem the shadow cast is one of the musical tastes of the departed - the softer, sinuous sounds of the likes of The Breeders, Can and even mid-period Pavement brimming over at its edges.
On 2010’s Astro Coast, whether they knew it or not, South Florida’s Surfer Blood issued a creed that would define their sound for years to come. “Swim! / To reach the end”, frontman John Paul Pitts sang on “Swim”, his voice thrashing forward at waves trying to throw him back. It’s more of a shout than a chorus, but that’s the point.