By Alec Warkentin
Joyful Noise Recordings
When sifting through Snowdonia, the ironically-titled latest from Floridian indie-rockers Surfer Blood, it’s hard to imagine how a group so mired in both controversy and tragedy have managed to release a record basking in a sun-drenched glow that, really, has no business being there.
Their first LP since the death of guitarist Thomas Fekete from cancer last year, Snowdonia finds the four-piece breezing through its eight harmonious, surfer-twang tracks, which at its highs are reminiscent of pre-Pet Sounds Beach Boys in regards to their consideration for coherent composition and dedication to theme.
“Six Flags in F or G,” the undeniable standout of Snowdonia, finds the group confronting the death of Feleke, beginning with an almost campy, carnival-like guitar jaunt before dropping off into anthemic resolve as vocalist John Paul Pitts’ nasally croons “One of these days/ Right back at the start/ One of these days/ We’ll never ever be apart.”
At it’s core, the real strength of Snowdonia lies in the execution of its instrumentation, which shifts between kitschy surfer-rock and airy, emotionally-laden codas with only the occasional misstep, and, ultimately, it’s a fitting homage to an existence that’s not always a day at the beach.Snowdonia, Surfer Blood