Label: Fire Records Release date: 01/11/10 Link: Myspace Buy: Amazon With shimmering, heady guitars and tribal drones that breathe light and summer breezes, New Zealand’s shoewave-psych outfit Surf City radiate waves of sunny optimism in their debut offering, Kudos. Taking their name from the Jesus and Mary Chain’s song ‘Kill Surf City’ they similarly exhibit a beachy, warped, lo-fi vibe; at times off-kilter and ramshackle. It is clear that Pavement too have been influential in shaping their sound. There is a distinctive air of ‘throwback’ to the record; that is not to say the result is contrived or overly derivative, it just means that the band are accomplished enough to take something inspiring and make it their own. Opening with the swooping ‘Crazy Rulers of the World’, Surf City instantly instil a sense of hazy summer days with their gritty, jangling fuzz; full of energy and drenched with feedback. Comfortingly repetitive, both vocally and instrumentally, the band latch onto a good thing and roll with it, ultimately ending up with a dynamic and resonating encapsulation of summer. Ebbing and oscillating, the five minute ‘Yakusa Park’ swirls with distortion and sparkles with keys that glint like the sun asunder. With an introduction akin to a less reverby version of Wavves’ ‘Rainbow Everywhere’, the song effortlessly builds to a buoyant climax, reminiscent of Panda Bear, that drones and throngs with a dreamy vibrancy. Following on, ‘Teacher’ emits an understated shoegaze element a la Black Tambourine or Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Commencing with a lucidly dark bassline, the song burns with distorted, uplifting guitars and drums that sound like the sun beating down upon your face. In a similar vein to Crystal Stilts or Crocodiles ‘Retro’ is echoy and luminescent; producing an emancipating 60s soundscape that one could quite easily float away on. ‘Cia’ on the other hand is an up-tempo, Beach Boys-esque number, crammed with neat little hooks and poppy, catchy harmonies, think ‘Surfin’ Safari’. The album climaxes jubilantly, with the harmonious ‘Zombies’; an ethereal, pulsating rendition, looping and hypnotic, oozing simplicity and originality. Surf City skilfully incorporate a colourful rainbow of influences into their hazy, atmospheric sound. Whilst this isn’t an album that sets out to technically impress, it has a warmth and emotional depth to it that the more complex at times lack. The fractured psych-pop outfit evoke tranquillity with just the right amount of slacker malaise and sunny vibrancy and with dark winter fast approaching Kudos is a wise investment.  Photobucket