Published Aug 13, 2019Something of a primer for their fifth full-length (due sometime next year), Surfer Blood's Hourly Haunts is a solid EP of the kind of relaxed indie/post-surf that the Florida group have been refining since bursting onto the scene with their raucously excellent Astro Coast almost ten years ago.
Like much of their work since then, there's nothing on Hourly Haunts that matches the energy and excitement of that debut, but taken on its own terms, this EP (available only at shows, or digitally) is certainly a likeable enough outing that should satisfy fans until the next LP.
Much remains the same, however. Relaxed guitar leads are still sprinkled liberally throughout, John Paul Pitts' lyrics remain thoughtful and often amusing, and the songwriting is of a generally high calibre, with newcomer Lindsey Mills continuing to add sparkling backup turns. One of the band's strong points has always been their readiness to dive into extended instrumental sections, letting their penchant for clear, precise guitar leads take center stage, and Hourly Haunts doesn't disappoint, with the fully instrumental "NM Sky Song" kicking off the EP's particularly strong second half with some intricate but unpretentious guitar work from Pitts and lead guitarist Michael McCleary.
"Atom Bomb," perhaps the catchiest song on the album, features more of the same, as well as some wry observations from Pitts as he details the story of an obsessive love interest.
Like 2017's Snowdonia, Hourly Haunts showcases a band comfortable enough in their style to push at its boundaries, albeit gently. Indeed, while there may not be any broad strokes of originality here, there's enough subtle detail to the production to reward multiple listens, and there are often at least three guitar tracks going at once during the EP's many instrumental sections, always interlocking intelligently.
Casual fans could probably stand to wait for their next full-length (the somewhat limited release suggests this), but those following the band closely will find enough to enjoy on this minor, but well-made effort from Surfer Blood. (Persona Non Grata)