Surface Tension, the debut LP from Akron’s dynamic two-piece, See Creatures (Nate Bucher and Adam Murray), is an album with the freshness and energy of a new band, and the ease and musicianship that only comes with experience. From start to finish, the tracks are a lugubrious groove slick of techno and minimalist psych-pop peppered with sci-fi inspired fuzzed out reverb and endless loops.
From the contemplative “#Ghosted” and “RGB” to the nuanced layered lyrics and celestial, scuzzy bedroom pop of tracks like “Open Mind=Lonely Times,” “I Sleep Alone with the Promise of Lovers” and “S.S. Grudgeqween,” the entire album is huge and renders a certain space, describes a time and follows a spell of vocals via exploratory, slippery synth and guitars and a subtle but sincere backbeat. This is an album rich with sharp yet sedated pop chops captured in stardust and resin…a cosmic sonic sigh—more white psych-soul than jam band—woven together in a tapestry of simple repeated riffs simultaneously sterile and filthy and always vaguely menacing.
And now, to my great joy, they’ve already released a six track follow up. “UNK” was released in early April, and what a fantastic album! From the opening track, “7 is Low” to “The Burlington,” this album is a cathartic quilt woven from fuzz-blitzed guitar, shoegaze synth, garage bred back beats, and hypnotic echo-swamped vocals.
A loose lyrical theme of depression and break-up tethers this all together. There’s a tumult in the lyrics where the confluence of love, anger, and melancholy meet to create a certain desperation, blistered and burnt in the heart’s own maelstrom as the mind struggles to come to terms with rejection and loss. And yet, the warmth of these fuzzed riffs and the pulse and stab of these drum beats make the pain seem almost pleasant enough to stagger out blithely and dislocate the present moment if only to wrench freedom from our self-made psychic prisons. These cats are easily one of my favorite local bands.