Surrogate - Diamonds and Pearls EP
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: March 11th, 2011
After releasing two criminally under-promoted full-lengths via Tooth and Nail, Chico, California’s Surrogate parted ways with the label and went underground for a while. Now they’ve returned with Diamonds and Pearls EP, a stacked seven-tracker that feels like a full-length.
How is it?
What made Surrogate under-promoted was the infinitesimal amount of, well, promotion they received. What made them criminally under-promoted was their home run sound. Aside from some tighter songwriting, they haven’t changed their sound up too much since their last full-length here on this EP. That means you can expect something along the lines of a creamy The Format-meet-Copeland blend, infused with strains of alt-country and ‘60’s pop – basically some of the most cohesively executed music you’ll hear all year.
The EP can be divided into two predominant tones. On volume crankers like “Pearls,” “Old Life,” “Diamonds” and “Settle,” it’s cautiously optimistic over clanging guitars. “My motivation for practicing patience, I’m in love with a girl who likes diamonds and pearls,” schmoozes one line. Later on, it gets fatherly: “Say it loud, lay it down, make me proud. Be kind and say it from the heart.”
But the other half is markedly downtrodden, an emotion that bubbles to the surface whenever the tempo slows down. “Gonna learn when all the bars are open, cause I can hardly breathe when I’m alone, and I’ll drink away the memory cause I know that I can’t go home,” laments “Can’t Go Home” over blues riffs and a shimmering keyboard. It’s sorrow meets Americana at its most powerful: The singer might as well be sobbing these words in a bar in Aspen, Colorado. Consequently, this is when Surrogate is at their best, reaching past the song to stir our hearts.