Album: Carefree Theatre
. . .
The Florida indie-pop band Surfer Blood had been making well-regarded albums for nearly a decade when the released their fifth album, Carefree Theatre, in 2020. And while I remember enjoying their first couple of records — 2010’s debut Astro Coast definitely got some buzz — it was Carefree Theatre that broke through with me.
My guess was that the relatively sunniness of the songs broke through with me during the darker parts of 2020 — which now seems like it was all darker parts, actually, though Autumn, when this record came out, was the darkest for me — with my favorite being “Karen,” where guitarist John Paul Pitts sings about somebody who has had a musical awakening.
Oh, Karen (ooh-ooh)
Oh, Karen (ooh-ooh)
You’re singing in the shower now, Karen (oooh-ooh)
There’s a couple of great hooks going on from the start. The first is Mike McCleary’s guitar run through what sounds like a Leslie speaker which adds subtle commentary throughout the song, and the second is the backing vocals from McCleary and bassist Lindsey Mills adding some fantastic “oooh-oohs” during the verses, and the tops them with “ahhh-aahhhs” during the chorus.
Now you’ve gotta gotta guitar (ahhh-ahhh)
Now you’ve gotta gotta guitar (ahh-ahhh)
Now you’ve gotta gotta guitar (ahhh-ahhhh)
Now you’ve gotta gotta guitar
During the bridge, Karen has gotten good enough that apparently the birds are camping on the wires outside of her house just to hear her songs, and even Pitts said that he was basically struck dumb the first time he heard her voice. So I predict good things in the future for Karen!
Anyways, “Karen” was released as a video on March 20, 2020, with the album originally due out on May 1. But it got pushed back until late September for what I assume were “let’s wait a month until this is all over” reasons that eventually became “fuck it, this is never gonna end so we might as well put it out.” Because 2020.
“Karen” Official Music Video
“Karen” Home Movie
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