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Album Review
Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island
by Surf City

Fire Records

Review Date
17th March 2015
Reviewed by
Paul Larsen

One of the great things about Surf City’s last record (2013’s We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This) was its knack of being able to marry so many elements of shoegaze, pop and psych-rock into a completed offering that kept the extremes of each genre from distorting the final product. Against this backdrop, singer Davin Stoddard’s observational and often cutting lyricism lent the record a weight that betrayed its sunburnt veneer. A couple of years on, the Auckland-based but globally known band have been afforded the time and space to record follow up album, Jekyll Island. So what’s changed?

Jekyll Island is a great example of an evolutionary album progression. It feels weightier and certainly carries more gravitas than its predecessors but it also maintains the ease of delivery and assuredness that was so endearing in earlier records. Mid-album highlight ‘What They Need’ exemplifies this with its spacey new-wave riff supporting a purposeful and engaging delivery from Stoddard.

Being a punchier and more concerted effort, Jekyll Island is beholden to its musicianship, which is noticeably good. The rhythm section in particular (Mike Ellis and Andy Frost) deserve a special mention for laying down an unshakeable foundation that ensures the other players in the band are gifted the opportunity to explore and play as the songwriting allows. It is a massively enjoyable album that demands a play-through. Not least of all right now, in the twilight of a long, hot summer.


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