Josh Kennedy and David Stoddard met each other at a video store, and the band they created, Surf City, has a good deal of that ‘modern tech throwback’ in its sound. The New Zealand duo draws alt-pop sensibilities that have long been found amongst the kiwis (like The Clean, Straightjacket Fits, Flying Nun records…), but their self-titled debut EP does that through alt-garage and early eighties New Wave.
Opener “Headin’ Inside” introduces the brighter side of Surf City, garage/surf-fuzz guitars laid over pressing energy, while the following “Records of a Flagpole Skater” goes even more upbeat (and fuzzed). Later on, “Mt. Kill” brings more of a garage jangle, with some nice distortion.
But Surf City don’t just rely on the fifties – there’s also the eighties. Most notable is the darker “Canned Food”, whose strong bass and haunt is clearly reminiscent of early eighties New Wave. And there are also the higher alt-Wave guitars of finisher “Free the City”. The vocals sometimes look too much to the nasal ways of The Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano (akin to Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – QRO live review – or Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse – QRO album review), but whatever the waves, Surf City are on board.