Surf Friends: Confusion (SF)

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Surf Friends: No Oil
Surf Friends: Confusion (SF)

Auckland two-piece Surf Friends -- guitarist/singer/drum machine handler etc Brad Coley and bassist/keyboards/singer Pete Westmoreland -- are starting out in almost exactly the same place as the early Clean and Chills whose sound they effectively hijack completely for some tracks on this interesting . . . and eventually quite convincing album.

Produced by Mark Howden -- who keeps things effectively straight-forward to capture their energy -- the album kicks in with Goals ("How I want to achieve my goals") and if one of them was an album that first recalled early Flying Nun but eventually left an original taste, then they've succeeded.

It is in the material that isn't Clean-reference (on Late Night and especially You're On My Mind with a Tally Ho! keyboard part you could be fooled) where they really score: the 10 minute title track at the end notably.

They get out on the periphery with No Oil, an edgy moan over a drone which sounds like experimental outfits like Chrome and Suicide -- alternately they have a barely-there, plaintive "ballad" Rask which is like an antipodean Velvet Underground/genial Lou Reed. And even though Humans is a Clean piece of pop, it has its own charm. Enjoy the Show sounds like David Kilgour sitting in with Flying Lizards.

Certainly there is too much here which follows well-trodden paths, but there is also more than enough hints and suggestions of various possible directions that you may conclude these two - in some form or other -- are going to be worth watching. 

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