In many ways the third album release from Surf City continues where they left off with 2013’s ‘We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This’ – reverb-heavy guitar riffs over Flying Nun-like pop structures and psychedelic walls of sound. They have developed their sound in the meantime though, combining tighter songwriting with their signature warm ’60s fuzz. There’s enough depth and catchy hooks to provide a good starting point for listeners new to the band. There are overlaps with what Tame Impala are doing, although the production here isn’t nearly as dry or crisp as their Australian neighbours – the overall lo-fi tone much more in keeping with The Clean or other Nun classics.
The four-piece consists of singing songwriter Davin Stoddard, guitarist Jamie Kennedy, bassist Mike Ellis and Andy Frost rounding out the rhythm section. ‘Jekyll Island’ might be an album that focuses on lyrics and epic guitar layering, but it’s the rhythm section that really carries the music. Ellis and Frost manage to give even the lighter tracks a consistent drive that stops them from getting too watery. While some lean heavily towards slower, shoegaze-y tones, it’s the more upbeat tracks that stand out to me. Hollow Veins has all the sonic complexity of the slower songs but combines it with a danceable energy and more obvious rock’n’roll bounce nicely offsetting the drone. There’s a strong ’60s vibe to the whole album, but for me the highlights are when they mix Pink Floyd atmospherics with some post-rock or even rock-rock. Settle in with it on a sunny afternoon, or in the car for a road trip through the bush.