Drive-By Truckers and Surfer Blood among top 5 music releases – The Morning Call

Welcome to a (slightly) softer and gentler version of Surfer Blood. On “Carefree Theatre,” the band’s fifth full-length album — and second with its current lineup — the group has toned down the punkier influences of the past. Of course, Surfer Blood was never a punk band in a raging kegger kind of way and always kept its pop influences front and center. But “Carefree Theatre” softens the edges just a bit on the Surfer Blood sound. That’s not a bad thing because there’s still plenty of energy in standout songs like “Parkland (Into the Silence”), “Karen,” “Unconditional” and “Dessert Island,” while the slightly less punky feel only accentuates the abundant hooks that are built into these songs. Other songs, such as the pure pop mid-tempo gens “Dewar” and “In the Tempest’s Eye” and the tuneful ballads “In My Mind” and “Summer Trope” round out this nicely balanced album. And if you want more of a good thing, check out “Hardboiled,” Surfer Blood’s new EP with five more worthy pop tracks, including collaborations with Lindsey Mills, Samira Winter and Pip Blom.