The debut 14-track album from the Nashville alternative rock duo known as Sur Rod is a bold, brassy and confident first musical outing, offering a tasty host of well penned, thoughtfully structured and neatly recorded songs.
Offering up some fiery lead vocals is the eponymous and fantastic Sur Rod, and on pretty much any and every instrument (as well as backing vocals) is the incredibly talented Audi. Together the pair have formed a tight nit partnership and produced an album of their own fantastic songs.
I’ll provide some brief initial thoughts on each of the individual songs on Surrodsound:
On Display – The up-tempo, rocking On Display opens the album with it’s thrashing guitars and hammering drums. The really effective switches between vocal effects suggests the protagonist is going through some kind of inner turmoil or argument. Strong opener.
Something Wicked This Way Comes – Next up is Something Wicked This Way Comes. With a swinging beat and some magical guitar effects, the vocals are layered with a subtle chorus effect that gives the track a really great off-kilter and edgy feel.
Sister Vain – The rhythmically driven Sister Vain is a plodding and scathing song hat holds back on a lot of instruments, favoring prominent drums and vocals. The lumbering tempo offers a well positioned relief within the album.
Dreamtime Blues – An atmospherically ethereal Dreamtime Blues offers a calming instrumental transition between tracks. Some brief but tasty guitar noodling going on here!
Pocketful of Greed – The two-chord verses and pent-up drums hold out on offering anything different until the choruses. Featuring a Foo Fighters-esque solo, the wonderful lyrics and vocal work mixes effectively with the blend of distorted and clean guitars.
Fairytales – The albums honest and touching attempt at a ballad. Fairytales’ nicely strained vocals and minimal guitars are punctuated only by space-y sounding electric guitar ‘whoops’. An album highlight.
Stockpile – Back to the up-tempo rockers. Stockpile is driven heavily by it’s thrashed distorted electric guitar and a sweet riff. A spoken section and the time odd time signature add to the track’s stockpile (ha!) of merits, sounding not too dissimilar to something from U2’s back catalogue.
I Know the Truth About You – The second ballad featured on the album, I Know the Truth About You is instead driven by a simple and lonesome keyboard track. A yearning lead vocal is compounded by a howled, distant backing vocal.
You’re Some Kind of Drug – Great lyrics and brilliant instrumentation, this track is the most well thought out and by far has the most commercial potential. Excellent rough vocals sound like something from the heyday of the power-ballad.
Enemy Within – The wonderful Enemy Within features funkily strummed guitar-only verses opening up into more heavy (and heavily-instrumented) choruses. Boasting beautiful harmonies, lyrically the song is quite deep, with the protagonist posing the questions to himself, trying to figure out the answers.
Diva Las Vegas – The drums and a stabbed piano track work really well together and the vocals mesh really well during the choruses. Also a massive thumbs up to the song’s genius title! A definite contender for my personal favorite track on the album.
Maybe Another Time – Another sweet and relaxing transition instrumental track, Maybe Another Time sounds like the older, more mature sibling of Dreamtime Blues.
Brass Ring – Pounding drums and a strong melody, Brass Ring is a nice song that seems somewhat unavoidably overshadowed by what comes before and after.
The Edge of Paradise – The commercial (and that is in no way to say bad) The Edge of Paradise rounds off the album. The brusque, up-tempo track provides a succinct summery of the album: lyrically great, musically sound and just the right amount of heavy. Slowly fading from a frantic solo to silence, it leaves you wanting more!
An excellent debut album from the pair, it is alternative enough to appeal to the alt-rock crowd, while being mainstream, melodious and commercial enough for the larger ‘average’ music listeners out there.
Also on a personal note, having had the opportunity to write and record with Audi (one half of Sur Rod) and also provide a my two-cents on proceedings during the writing and recording of the album, I can attest to the fact that a LOT of hard work has gone into this release. Having an album of their own music officially released couldn’t happen to two nicer, happier, more talented people. Congrats, guys!
Surrodsound is available now on iTunes, Spotify and Reverbnation.