Surf City – We Knew It Was Not Going to be Like This

Album Review by Chris Buckle | 01 Aug 2013
  • Surf City
Album title: We Knew It Was Not Going to be Like This
Artist: Surf City
Label: Fire Records
Release date: 19 Aug

Following a fairly lengthy hiatus, New Zealand’s Surf City pick up more or less where they left off on 2010’s Kudos. Luckily, said debut inhabited a rich-enough milieu to warrant a full-length revisit, with We Knew It Was Not Going to be Like This offering nine more confidently assembled slices of chilled-out guitar-pop laced with sprawling nods to psychedelic space-rock.

They’re at their most immediately satisfying when they err towards the simpler end of their spectrum (see: I Want You’s big dumb chorus; It’s A Common Life’s fuzzed-up canter; NYC’s tribute to Pavement), but it’s the less direct pieces that sustain interest on repeat listens. From the sixties-evoking vocal effects and guitar wig-outs of Oceanic Graphs of the Wilderness to the lackadaisical, rolling repetition of closer What Gets Me By, it’s their willingness to kick loose and see where things end up that save them from accusations of throwaway retroism.