Surfaces - Pacifico
Aug 9, 2022 (updated Sep 7, 2022)
69
With Surfaces new album dropping soon, I feel like its a good time to review their most recent album "Pacifico" so I can go straight into Hidden Youth.

Coming off of their 3rd studio LP "Horizons" I was kind of worried what was coming next for Surfaces because Horizons was just awful. Terrible songwriting, repetitive production with no layering and no clear theme, so I was pleasantly surprised with Pacifico. This LP is still more geared towards pop than lofi, but its a much better attempt at blending the two than Horizons.

Pacifico is so fun to listen to and its also the perfect summer album with the production tailored to make you dream of beautiful beaches in mid June. Surfaces does a great job with not just throwing 808s everywhere to make the tracks in Pacifico more hype. The various guitars used are layered well (especially acoustic and bass) which complement Forrest's voice nicely making tracks sound nice when you add in piano, synths, and drums. I actually had a huge emphasis on drums/percussion in general while listening because I wanted to see how creative Surfaces could get with their production instead of just using 808s and my conclusion is that they did a pretty ok job. I like the fact that they used real authentic drum kits in most songs rather than relying on 808 drum kits, but the energy from the drums kind of die out in the backend of the album. Tracks like Hideaway, Yours, Next Thing, and Let It Ride all sound super engaging because they are filled with lots of percussional ploys in the background to help fill out the song. That kind of disappears in a song like Come With Me which I like a lot, but it would sound so much better if Surfaces add a xylophone or a glockenspiel to complement salem's vocals. Overall the production is really solid and although not particularly deep, it still sounds fun and laid back.

Another aspect that makes this album very fun to listen to is Forrest's vocals. His voice is so smooth and he's able to harmonize so elegantly with the instrumentals whether he's singing the melody or using his voice as a chorus. I really prefer when Forrest uses his raw voice instead of trying to use autotune on it because he just doesn't need it and when he does use autotune, it sounds really over processed.

The features on Pacifico are meh outside of salem who absolutely killed it on Come With Me. Public Library Commute was decent and actually sounded better than Forrest on Feels The Same, Quinn's wasn't anything special and Xavier Omar just straight up sounded bad. I think Quinn's could've sounded better if the songwriting was more interesting. Tbf I think Surfaces songwriting isn't that bad in Pacifico. Yeah it still does need a lot of work, but its basic feel good music to get you going, so I find it hard to hate on. The wordplay is more clever than Horizons and is actually catchy which is all I was really looking for.

I think this is a good album and I probably could be a little more critical since tracks like On Time and So Far Away just feel like AJR songs, but I think there is more good than bad which helps me look forward to their next release.

Climb - N/A
Hideaway - 8
Let Me Know - 6
Yours - 8
On Time - 4
So Far Away - 4
Wave of You - 10
Feels The Same - 4
Next Thing (Loverboy) - 6
Come With Me - 10
Let It Ride - 8
Time Zones - 6
With You - 8
Malibu Interlude - 6
Come Around - 4
Pacifico - 8

103/150
TOP 3: Wave of You, Come With Me, Yours
WORST: Come Around

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