One of the stranger trends to emerge this year was the indie rock realm's unexpected embrace of the mid-80s sound of New Zealand, to the extent that it's suddenly cool for contemporary artists to cite the early recordings of the Clean and the Chills as profound influences. A music biz operator like Thomas Morr is sharp enough to recognize a hot sound when he hears it, and Surf City have definitely got it going on. No doubt being Kiwis gives the Surf City gang an edge over Tapes 'n Tapes, Deerhunter, Crystal Stilts and Jay Reatard in capturing the jangly lo-fi mystique of the classic Flying Nun label stuff.
But Surf City aren't content to merely ape an ancient sound on this stunner of a six-song introduction. They've taken the best bits - the jagged guitars, jarring rhythms and charming harmonies - and blasted away with a wit, whimsy and a white-knuckle intensity all their own. In other words, a manic pop thriller of the first freakin' order.
Top Track: Headin' Inside