In a city where the only surf shop is really just a garage lined with surfboards, finding a good wave might just be a matter of divine intervention. So “Pray for Surf,” the opening track on the sophomore release by Toronto surfy pop duo Snowblink, has just about the most fitting song title you could imagine. But the song is less a case of landlocked longing than it is a throwback to the band’s San Francisco roots.
While frontwoman and songwriter Daniela Gesundheit hasn’t called California home for almost five years, her lyrics—paired with soaring vocal melodies—still recall blue seas and “orca-coloured mountains.” While both the imagery and its musical accompaniment remain true to the band’s well-received 2011 debut, Long Live, Gesundheit and partner Dan Goldman refine their approach on Inner Classics, which has a terse nine tracks compared to its predecessor’s 15. But thanks to songs like the dreamy, seven-minute “Best-Loved Spot,” this album still feels like a complete effort.
Though Gesundheit’s interval-hopping phrases are one of Inner Classics’ more appealing features, they overshadow Goldman’s vocal contributions, which are unfortunately in short supply. There’s also a dearth of memorable hooks—like surfable Toronto waves, they appear only briefly and in small quantities, demanding considerable patience. Fortunately, the album’s lush overarching soundscape is enough to justify the urban-surfer-like persistence.
Playlist picks: “Pray for Surf,” “Unsurfed Waves,” “Buttons”
i) Snowblink plays the Music Gallery (197 John St.) on Sept. 27.