By: Tommy “T-Rod” Rodriguez
Ah surf rock: the comfortable, timeless sound of the ocean rolling into your ears via smooth guitar and relaxed drums. This particular sub-genre of music has seen an uptake in popularity in the past few years, dominating the indie scenes from both the west and east coast with their pretty melodies and gorgeous instrumentals.
While there are a multitude of indie outfits tackling this smooth niche of rock music, few have the finesse of the Florida-based outfit Driptones. With a flair for passionate vocals, sticky melodies, and some of the best instrumental performances this side of the state, the group has made a name for themselves within the East Coast Indie Scene…and their latest single “Wave Sounds” proves this. As a mixture of modern indie aesthetic and the blissful character of old-fashioned beach tock, this two-track single kicks all kinds of ass.
“Wave Sounds,” the titular song of this two-sided single, is breathtaking. With a plucky lead melody, deft bass licks and colorful splashes of guitar chords, the instrumental paints a picture that perfectly encapsulates the old-fashioned cover art. It’s peaceful, relaxing by the seaside as the world explodes behind the gorgeous vocals. As lyrics like “I throw my head back and look at the sky/I don’t even know why, the sunshine’s in my eyes” play on, I can’t help but love the writing and ethos of the track: it’s simple, but powerfully effective at reflecting the carefree attitude we could all use right now. As the song subtly changes tempo and a guitar solo wails on towards the song’s back half, a huge grin will set upon your face. It’s a glorious finish to a wonderful track, mirroring a setting sun on the quiet horizon.
Thankfully, Driptones like to feed their fans, as demonstrated by the snarky “Sunsick.” As a B-side, this song plays off “Wave Sounds” wonderfully: it is more uptempo, focusing much more on the bass and Zach Gerbi’s charismatic vocals. The structuring on this track is gripping: volume sinks and rises like a wave, with crashes of drums and guitars interplaying with moments of silence. Gerbi’s performance here is great, simultaneously playing a confident beach bro and a melancholic beach bum as he ruminates on the pros and cons of staying by the water and someone he loves. It’s a nice simile that turns a simple topic into one with layers and room to revisit for new meaning.
Overall? I loved the hell out of both sides of “Wave Sounds.” Coming back from vacation to talk about Driptones’ latest work reminded me that sometimes you just need to get up and visit the shore to clear your mind. Next time you catch me on the sands, I’ll probably be playing these songs and enjoying a better future…I’m excited to see what these guys do next.
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