Surreal Nation delves into a masterful blend of indie rock and dream pop on the shimmering “I Know Better EP”. Vocals rest at the heart of the everything, radiating with a great warmth. Layer upon layer of sound intermingle in a perfect way. At times the lovely storytelling lyricism feels reminiscent of Beat Happening’s charming ability to create warm, inviting, fully-realized worlds. Guitar work has a laid-back jangle to it, a perfect embodiment of garage rock’s intimate spirit. Drums possess an emotional quality to them, with rhythms balancing the hopeful quality that informs the entirety of the collection.

Quite playful the EP opens with “Would You Do Me The Honor of Becoming My Mexican Divorce?”. Barreling through with tremendous energy the song rushes by in a strange, Pixies-like blur. Things slow down considerably on the laid-back groove of “I Know Better”. Over the course of the piece Surreal Nation lets the entire thing build up, letting everything grow until it becomes all-consuming. Easily the highlight of the collection the song has a timeless quality to it. Full of giddiness “I Can Feel The Night” possesses impeccable 80s style jangling guitars that help drive the piece forward. Intimacy comes to define the jazz-inflected quality of “Hangtime” while the piece rocks back and forth. Thoughtful with a sense of yearning things come to a close on the heartfelt “Spirit is Silent”.

With “I Know Better EP” Surreal Nation craft a colorful world that positively radiates with optimism.

By Ben Smithson