Snowdonia. Guitarist Thomas Fekete died of stomach cancer, former bassist Kevin Williams moved to Texas, and founder John Paul Pitts’ mother was diagnosed with cancer. Nevertheless, Pitts reconstituted the band and crafted the most innovative and happiest work to date — though perhaps happy in a way suggesting deep sorrow. The new foursome bounces with a Belle and Sebastian style of assertive glee, but the chord changes and time progressions of “Six Flags in F or G” and the title track are weightier than typical three-minute pop. The eight longish tracks exhibit surreal methods of storytelling, suggesting Pitts might have a few things left to work out. Still, the mere fact Surfer Blood has remained a cohesive unit means Pitts deserves an award for fortitude.
File next to: They Might Be Giants, Real Estate, Tennis
Several bands have seen tragedy recently, but Florida’s Surfer Blood went through total calamity prior to the release of