The wonderfully fantastic By Surprise have a new EP and a new song for you! The new material picks up right where the more focused sound of their 2011 full length Mountain Smashers left off — and even builds upon it. The new material paired with album artwork by Brian Meitz and shirt artwork by Jeremie Rose Wimbrow is a total win-win-win (so, like, ya know, really no losses here, you guys).
Criteria, recorded to analog tape with Mountain Smashersproducer Dave Downham at Familyre Studios, begins with a blast of feedback, guitars riffing fuzzily, ringing out, and pick sliding with some twinkly bits thrown in. The title track features Pat Gartland’s off kilter voice, sometimes terse sometimes warbly, intoning lines with a directness not audible in past recordings — “Just because I don’t open my mouth as much you, doesn’t mean that I’m down or out.” The chorus showcases By Surprises’ penchant for layered vocals and a sensibility for sneaky melodies, hooks that catch up with you unexpectedly. The three song offering is familiar without treading old territory, masterfully embracing adulthood while conjuring a sense of youthful splendor; a glimmering self awareness swirling around every song.