Under Review

Surprise Party

Heart of Love (Shake! Records)

by Mariko Adams

Like other bands on the Shake! Records roster, Winnipeg’s Surprise Party offers a fun, fuzzed-out sound that never tires. On Heart of Love, this self-described “homoerotic goth-psych college rock boy band” offers a sublime combination of tongue-in-cheek lyrics, surf-rock riffs, and psychedelic organs that avoid being formulaic.

Part of this triumph can be attributed to Surprise Party’s humorous lyrics. In “Super Cool Girlfriend,” for example, frontman Mischa Decter sings, “I love my girlfriend so much she’s super young / She’s only 13 and she’s so much fun” — here’s hoping this isn’t based off Decter’s actual experiences.

While their lyrics often make you question whether the band takes their music seriously or not, it’s clear that Surprise Party has put thought into Heart of Love.  The soaring guitars on “Cut Me” are effectively grungy while the pulsing structure of “It’s Okay” is equally as engaging.

Sorry to ruin the surprise, but Surprise Party’s Heart of Love demonstrates that you don’t need to be good at surfing to be good at making surf-rock.