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CD REVIEW

Surfer Blood, ‘Tarot Classics’

October 25, 2011

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Is Surfer Blood priming for its close-up? The Florida quartet’s 2010 debut, “Astro Coast,’’ was a crunchy power-pop record swathed in reverb and dusted with distortion. Its new four-song EP continues with that sturdy foundation, even as it occasionally hints at larger arena-rock ambitions. The sprawling “Voyager Reprise’’ kicks off with majestic, echoing U2 guitars, before settling into a spiky groove and then adding synths, a harmonica, and some slicing riffage that somehow all coheres. Chiming guitar lines share melody duties alongside the sung verses on the chipper “I’m Not Ready’’ while the bass drum on “Miranda’’ gives it the rollicking energy of a long-lost Cars tune. John Paul Pitts’s lyrics remain alternately defiant, forlorn, and icy as ever. (“You wanna know why you got nobody else to turn to?’’ he taunts on “I’m Not Ready.’’ No, not really.) Album closer “Drinking Problem’’ ends with a minute of noisy feedback, as if to remind the band of its lo-fi roots. Make no mistake, though - this is a group that’s reaching for the rafters. (Out today) ADAM CONNER-SIMONS

ESSENTIAL “Voyager Reprise’’

Surfer Blood plays the Casino Ballroom at Hampton Beach, N.H., on Oct. 30 with the Pixies.