I’ve often read that The Arcade Fire are influenced by Brian Wilson, but I gotta be honest: I don’t see it.
In January, Kanine records will release the first candidate for the best album of 2010. Yes, it’s not even January and we’re there already–24 hours early. “Swim,” the single off of Surfer Blood’s Astrocoast has already burned up the internet with it’s echoey shouted cry, “Swim to reach the end!” and it’s infuriatingly catchy hooks, and the rest of the album is just as strong. No, stronger.
If stoner surfer music were well-crafted and cognizant, but still had the fuzzy crawl, this is what it would sound like. But Surfer Blood’s sound is far more than that. It’s smart, emotional, moving, and crisp. It sounds like nothing you’ve heard before, but achieves that sound by assembling a lot of stuff from everywhere else. There are shades of Arcade Fire pop in songs like “Catholic Pagans” and, especially, “Harmonix,” but there’s also witty lyrical twists that sound simultaneously familiar and fresh (“When I met you/I broke the mold” . . . “If you’re moving out to the West/You better learn how to surf”), and, above all, there’s guitar. The guitar is the anchor holding the listener through the album, and John Paul Pitts’ terrific vocal quality is the breeze that blows across your face. So many of these songs could be singles, and yet the collection hangs together as an album. That in and of itself is a rare feat.
I can’t say enough good things about this record, truly. If Arcade Fire had the most important album of the 00s decade, this is the logical progression into the 10s. Check it out.