Surfer Blood // Snowdonia
Overall, the album works, perhaps not reaching their early peak, but gaining steady footing.
Perpetually riding the momentum of 2010's Astro Coast, Surfer Blood never really lived up to that album's promise. After two forgettable full-lengths, the band returns with their fourth studio album, Snowdonia. It's been a tumultuous ride for them over the past few years. In 2012, singer John Paul Pitts pled no contest to charges of domestic battery, tarnishing the band for many. A few years later, founding guitarist Thomas Fekete was diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer, and passed away in 2016. Through all of this, the band is soldiering on. Will Snowdonia be their saving grace? Possibly, but it's not likely. It's a fine record. Their sound has moved from the trendy beach-tinged echoes of the late oughts, to a more powerpop sound reminiscent of bands like Ozma, Matthew Sweet, or Superdrag. It's an album consistent in tone and tempo. There are a few odd standouts, like the harmonic minor riffs of "Six Flags in F or G," and the strange, albeit lovable television theme song that is "Taking Care of Eddy." Overall, the album works, perhaps not reaching their early peak, but gaining steady footing.
– Nick Warren