Either "alternative rock" died early last decade or everyone just decided to start calling it "indie rock" because that sounded hipper and newer. They're both pretty meaningless and interchangeable terms but then along comes an album like "Astro Coast," the debut from Florida's Surfer Blood. This one is straight up alternative rock, mid-'90s WHFS style. It's all thick guitar riffs and aim-for-the-sky choruses. You half expect singer John Paul Pitts to break out "Like father! Stepfather!" in the middle of "Swim."
Surfer Blood plays leisure music, which they basically announce by starting the album with songs titled "Floating Vibes," "Swim" and "Take It Easy." The songs are uncluttered, unhurried. The distortion is piled on thick, each chord lingers. There are a few forays into busy, jaunty rhythms, but for the most part it's one casual riff rocker after another. It's so relaxing that it eventually becomes exhausting. Halfway through "Astro Coast" you're bound to think, "Hey, this is pretty good, but I think I might take a nap and listen to the rest later."
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