By Surprise

Mountain Smashers

Written by: TL on 19/06/2011 21:56:17

Okay, so here's a quick review of an album that should interest anyone who likes some good, dorky, American underground rock, and by anyone who would appreciate the full meaning of a song titled "Daggermouth Is Playing At My House". The album is called "Mountain Smashers", and as far as I can find out, it seems to be the debut LP from New Jersey quartet By Surprise, who tags themselves as "indie-rock", "post-whatever" and "punk".

What that translates to in terms of sound, is raw, mathy indie/emo/punk, in the veins of Everyone Everywhere, Scream Hello! and Tigers Jaw. Exactly the kind of music you'd expect to hear coming out of a Jersey basement these past few years, complete with singer(s) that don't seem to have a clue about how to sing, but manage to sound charming and compelling anyway.

The record features eleven tracks of basically awesome feel-good music, with a few immediate stand-out tracks to get you interested. The aforementioned "Daggermouth Is Playing At My House" is one of them, boasting endearing lyrics such as "Daggermouth, playing at my house, Daggermouth, sleeping on my couch, the kids are lined up 'round the block, the PA is in the garage, the cops they cannot stop us, the neighbors they hate us". Like I said, awesome, and there's more of that in a track like "Fountain Splashers", while the rousing opener "Books By Thoreau" is an example on how By Surprise can also get the job done with simple, yet catchy melodies and straight-forward gang shouts.

On the flipside, "Books By Thoreau" is also an example of a song that could arguably have lead to a lot more, if By Surprise had been only slightly more ambitious than punk. It's a small point of criticism though, because the song is indeed enjoyable as is, and the only real thing to regret about "Mountain Smashers" is that not all tracks are as immediately memorable as that and the two others mentioned. It's a good, fun record though, and it bears promise of better things, if By Surprise can keep the quirky ideas coming, and structure them slightly more consistently. I for one will be poised for an eventual follow-up to find out if they can.

7

Download: Daggermouth Is Playing At My House, Books By Thoreau, Fountain Splashers
For The Fans Of: Everyone Everywhere, Scream Hello!, Tigers Jaw
Listen: bysurprise.bandcamp.com

Release Date 05.04.2011
Top Shelf/Friend Of Mine Records

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