Is it possible for a band to be all over the place, and for them to not only succeed, but have that be their strongest trait? The answer is yes, or at least I feel SUR have managed to pull that off on their Dog Daze EP. SUR are not noise rock, although their songs are in the red and distorted for harshness rather than melody. They're not post-hardcore, although they have the intensity that is on par with some of the best. They're are definitely not psych-rock, even though you can hear some of the influence in the way the guitars chime through the noisy haze. Instead, SUR of are a compression of all these things (and bits of several other genres), constantly interweaving between one another, making music that is unstable but unrelenting as well.
Despite all that, there is some general direction to the tape. The first side is built around SUR's shorter songs, and in turn they pack much more of a sonic, blistering punch. The Dog Daze EP opens on "Shadow Puppet", with distortion crafted perfectly to sound like a raging hornet's nest before launching to a drug damaged mixture of post-hardcore and noise rock, like Lightning Bolt and Double Dagger thrown into a room together, fighting and recording a song together. The energy lasts in the rhythm section, but has been drained from the guitars and vocals once the tracks "Jail" & "Rumors" hit, creating this wonderfully disconcerting feeling that makes it feel as if everything is off balance and about to fall apart. It works even better because it allows for moments in each of the song for the band to launch into these noisy assaults that let the song burn bright for short time before crashing down in again. Even the sun damaged psych surf of "Shut Up", has moments of chaos to keep it from falling trap to convention.
The B-side is where the band really stretches their legs and let the sprawl take over. "Fox M" is an almost tribal tune, spacy and percussive, enhanced by the band's female member Danielle Moran taking over vocal duties. The track would almost be a Explode into Colors track if not for the drill like guitar within it. Dog Daze ends on "Great Plains/Synesthete", an almost pure instrumental track that is the tape's most straight forward song, a steady beat with grungy riffs played continuously through the song. That is, until everything shifts in the song's last minute to reveal a bright, melodic patch of guitar rock that had lay hidden underneath. And really, there is no better way for SUR to have ended the tape. If nearly everything about SUR's sound collided with one another, it seems fitting that the last thing heard by them is a momentary burst of catchiness, if only to contrast everything else that was just heard.
Buy the Dog Daze EP cassette from Mirror Universe/Sleeping Giant Glossolania on September 16
Grab a copy from your local music store as a part of Cassette Store Day