Following a turbulent couple of years after losing two members, Surfer Blood have returned with their fourth effort Snowdonia.
Matter of Time is a shimmering indie-pop opener in the vein of Maximo Park, among other twee bands that came out of Britain in the mid 00s. Frozen and Dino Jay seem to follow this formula with 60s vibrato guitars thrown in, resulting in an incredibly underwhelming experience, while John Paul Pitts’ vocal delivery makes even Kaiser Chief’s Ricky Wilson sound sophisticated and refined in comparison.
Six Flags in F or G ventures even further, with terrible production, overbearing space echoes and forgettable guitar lines. The song becomes a slog, as the band are unrelenting in trying to be Oasis, albeit dreadfully. The only redeeming feature comes in the ending, where tremolo swells pair nicely with a chiming guitar.
Elsewhere, Surfer Blood try and channel other acts with little to no excitement or impact at all. Carrier Pigeon hints towards early Manic Street Preachers, Instant Doppelgangers is a very dull doppelganger for Dutch Uncles, and the title track contains a Doves picking pattern that develops into nothing but a collection of half-baked ideas.
What’s worse, the music doesn’t even come close to the banality of Pitt’s vocals with Taking Care of Eddy and Frozen being key examples. The choruses are wrought with repetitive phrases and nursery rhyme melodies, delivered with as much punch as an egg sandwich.
Snowdonia may only have eight songs, but it is impossible to get through in one sitting.