Surfing – Deep Fantasy
By David Claridad
Grab a dictionary and look up the word ‘surfing’ and you’ll find a few definitions: the first would probably read something like ‘riding the wave while on a surfboard’, the next perhaps ‘moving through internet pages’ and somewhere else down the list would be ‘a psychwave Melbourne and Sydney band who have released their first album Deep Fantasy’, all based on the extent to which each is a household term. Which is not a criticism at all on Surfing – while it might sound like a rip, Deep Fantasy hangs ten tracks with a washed out sound, and displays a young band of grommets who may ride the wave soon enough.
Hearing their sound, a likely definition that emerges from the surf for Deep Fantasy may be Drive. Not just the actual word but the movie and what it is, as Deep Fantasy is heavily defined by what provides only support in a film, that conscious decision by the director to help illustrate and provide background to a trendy semblance unto itself.
Musically, that means the style is waxed with 80s synths for stronger fins and better gliding. On tracks like “Moonlight” the music pumps for the retro indie, continuing into “Your Touch” which shapes disco like World’s End Press recently have. On other tracks, the more electro-tinged numbers like “Dubai” demonstrate a whirring washing, while shortboard track “Senegal” lends comparisons to its longboard cousin M83.
Another point: Drive’s Ryan Gosling is a strong male lead of few words – so too is this album: strong in its own right, yet the absence of vocals hurts it, like a ding after a gash. The first three tracks have seldom vocals unless they’re mimicking the sound of the ocean in a hollowed shell. While the instrumentation is of a high calibre – Surfing would not be a kook out there at Sugar Mountain based on their anthemic instrument work alone on classic “Sky High” – the tracks really find a bearing when vocals dip their toes in. Standout “Hit The Spot” doesn’t just test the water but transcends the rest, like a Slater or Burrow from the amateurs. It’s here that the tracks stand proud on the board.
Now putting aside the positive sundry for Drive, Surfing have a few fillers on Deep Fantasy near the end of the album. These can be considered poor tracks outright, but instead it best defines the band as one starting out, honing their technique and finding their listeners. And sure, while they might not ever be the first definition of ‘surfing’ in the Merriam Webster, give them a few more records and their music will come to mind when that word is said at least.