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Album Review

by Surf City

Arch Hill Records

Review Date
29th September 2010
Reviewed by
Benny George

Since the beginning of Surf City way back in 2004, word has filtered up from the streets of a young band with oodles of potential, yet to be fulfilled. That was until Kudos, their debut album, which sees Surf City maturing and embarking on a sound all their own, shaking past references towards The Clean, Animal Collective or Jesus and Mary Chain. Sure there is reverb, delay, off kilter twists, guitar fuzz and samples in abundance on Kudos, but these attributes only help define Surf City’s unique sound.

This is the perfect blend of non-angry rock and non-waify pop, with the intriguing lyrics and vocal melodies of guitarist Davin Stoddard and backing vocalist/bassist Jamie Kennedy, alluring to those who like kooky wordplay and men who sing. Whereas metallic guitar noise seem a pre-req for wall of sound-drone type bands, Stoddard and Josh Kennedy opt for a silkier, hazy twin-guitar sound which really lifts Kudos off the solid platform laid down by the kinetic, selfless drumming of Logan Collins.

Personal favourite and longest song on the record, Icy Lakes, sees Mount Roskill’s finest evolve thru many chops and moods, allowing lots of time for ideas to rise and fall during the almost eight minute duration. Songs like See How the Sun and CIA, even point Surf City to AK-79 references without being punk-punk, just offering the pop sensibilities that saw The Scavengers or The Swingers shine. Zany anthem Yakuza Park, opens with a Chills-like sample before sailing into orbit, expressing Surf City’s attitudes of branching out and pushing the audio envelope. Any time that long lashings of atmospheric type guitars float into the abyss, all is reined back to Surf City’s sweet chops, brave dynamics or songs end.

The Kraut-Californian inspired international nature of Kudos will really be to Surf City’s benefit, especially being signed to Fire Records (USA), Pop Frenzy (Australia), Morr Music (Germany) and the stellar local label that is Arch Hill Recordings. Every song on Kudos shows inventive and endearing qualities that should see pop-purists and critics all hail Kudos a success. Writing an album rather than hits has paid off on this record and all in sundry, sounds like a good time was had by the band, which will be passed on to any lucky listeners that discover Kudos!


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