Surf-rock seems to shift towards the increasingly disingenuous crowds, replete with Coffee Beans and teenagers rolling spliffs on the back of notebooks while some fuzzy guitar lick keeps them from answering texts from their mother. It’s a culture that took an enormous and sharp nosedive into the realm of awful, with followers that can’t quite commit to normcore and are too vacant to resign to post-rock. Now, many of the outfits are becoming less enlivened by the idea of slumming it and are coming to grips with issues such as “debt” or “functioning in the workplace.”
The particularly hazy yet hopeful Answer to Influence from El Segundo-based Greg and The Granules isn’t the most empowered or even convincing ode to the slacker credo. Then again, front man Greg Maechling is perhaps the most ebullient of his South Bay compatriots, focusing on projecting his presence over the so-called surf rather than embroiling himself in the details of how to objectify the scene.
Some may see Maechling’s method as playing it safe, but it’s optimism that allows Greg and The Granules to experiment with less bourgeois feelings in the genre rather than languish in its sub context. There are traces and hints of an older, more earnest sound, with a Hammond organ tingling through “I Knew You When” that hearkens back to Maechling’s roots in the psychedelic outfit Particle Wave.
No doubt issued after some periods of heavy reflection and perhaps a dose or two of purging cultural therapy for something more rigid, Answer To Influence isn’t just about ditching the surf scene for something more whole. Rather, it’s about finding the beauty in the monotony of the culture that lives for moments that constantly top one another.