Thursday, January 8, 2009

EP - Surf City


Surf City
Morr Music Records.

SCQ Rating: 79%

Last June I recoiled deep into a love affair with Morr Music, writing about how blown away I was by their bold move from delicate electronics into amplified indie-rock. The album in context was Sleep Well by Electric President, which was recently crowned my favourite of 2008, and I was really only commenting on their blistering finale ‘When It’s Black’. No less than two weeks after finishing that year-end list I pick up Morr’s most recent signing, Surf City, only to discover that the German imprint have pushed their sonic palette even further into indie-rock. Not only does Surf City site Pavement and Animal Collective as influences (throw Clap Your Hands Say Yeah in there, as far as I’m concerned), they actually live up to the challenge; morphing idling riffs with passionate vocals into one awesome debut EP.

Like the painted letters that scrawl the New Zealand band’s name on EP’s cover, everything included in this nineteen minute set is of-the-moment and ready to explode. Songs like ‘Dickshaker’s Union’ and ‘Headin’ Inside’ launch out of the gate and complete rapid-fire guitar licks without ever feeling undercooked. While those two handle some of EP’s more aggressive moments, ‘Records of a Flagpole Skater’ and ‘Mt. Kill’ compliment as melodic highlights by fleshing out their songwriting skills from the volume.

By the time you’ve heard ‘Free the City’ – the only song to breach the five minute mark, and twice the length as most other tracks – drive recklessly from classic-surf music into a killer guitar line, EP’s cover-art rooster suddenly seems less, well, stupid. Suddenly this power-mad, gun-toting bird looks capable of demolishing buildings or leading a police chase with Surf City blaring out amid the chaos. It’s the band’s urgency that creates such vivid imaginary cases of rooster-disorder; a heaviness which, unlike most Morr albums that require contemplation, instead requires physical participation. In other words, if you’re capable of listening to Surf City without jumping, dancing or playing air-guitar around your apartment, you’re no fun. Get over it.

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