Joshua Williamson (vocals/guitar), Matt Jorizzo (vocals/bass) and John Bruno (drums) are Charlie Doesn’t Surf. In December 2015 the band formed and released Riveria Days which we reviewed. Since then the band apparently moved to Minneapolis while Williamson attended audio engineering school. The band just released Something Darker which was recorded and mixed by Williamson.
On the band's Bandcamp page they say it’s a sonic change from their debut. The changes are subtle. When comparing the two I felt Riveria Days has a more defined low end with the drums especially feeling more prominent. Are the sonic changes on Something Darker better? I’m not sure but there are some differences which can be subjective.
The EP opens with “Everything.” I thought the toms sounded great. The guitars have a washy reverb effect on them and the bass work felt suppurative but appropriate. As the song progresses it gets quite heavy; I was reminded quite a bit of Sonic Youth despite the four-chord style Nirvana chorus. I think Williamson reminded me of Thurston Moore with his vocal delivery.
Up next is “Beautiful Day” which is a fun and catchy punk song for the most part. I thoroughly enjoyed the vocals on this track. The vocalist sings about drugs that induce relaxation. I think the reason I liked the high pitched vocal part so much was because he sounded like Tim Harrington from the now seemingly defunct and underrated Les Savy Fav.
“Keep Me Waiting” felt like a distinct change in style and delivery. This song is much more atmospheric and veers towards tones and textures in the beginning that you might hear from a band like Real Estate. The band does go more into their grunge style sound as the song progresses.
“Ending” is the most dynamic song which clearly gets into post-rock territory. I couldn't help but think of early Mogwai. The song felt a little out of place compared to what came before. Speaking of Mogwai Charlie Doesn’t Surf’s last song is entitled “Die Young.” It’s a rocking song covered in copious amounts of reverb.
I like this band a lot. They have good taste and their influences feel fairly obvious to me. I’d say the band is still a little unsure of who they are. That being said they have been around for such a short amount of time that that might be expected. If I was a betting man I’d say this band will have a more cohesive vision on their next effort. I think their best is yet to come but don’t pass this up. I thought it was a tad scattered but individually the songs hold up. Recommended.
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