We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This is Surf City's second album and it takes its title from an overheard conversation from a bar in South Korea. This album keep's the band's melodic and scuffed-up shoe-gazing sound giving it an instantly likeable charm that lasts much of its 46-minutes.
Slimmed down from four to three since Josh Kennedy had a child and left the band the tale of this album's creation takes in New York, Korea and the band's home country of New Zealand. It's a seemingly chaotic spate of long-haul flights and relocations. Following a short break during which lead-vocalist Davin Stoddard went travelling and Kenedy's child was born Stoddard moved to New York, found a studio, recorded some music then realised he hated New York and left. After a stint back in New Zealand during which he also recorded Stoddard ended up in South Korea teaching England and recording vocals and guitar in the evenings in his apartment, creating so much noise his neighbours ended up moving out.
There's more than a hint of the noisy, busy distorted melodies of The Jesus And Mary Chain on We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This and at its best it is layered with the slightly depressed and casually mistimed vocal delivery of Pavement's Stephen Malkmus. A mild loneliness permeates this record, the audible conclusion to Stoddard's lonesome misadventures and the alienation of travelling, at times it is the explicit subject of the songs themselves, as on 'NYC', but it is often there is the very modern postulating regarding the source of our modern angst (Facebook likes and the internet, apparently).
For me We Knew... is ultimately mainly just about the hooks, the swagger, the delivery. The lyrics are often buried under layers of instruments, effect peddles and, one imagines, tangles of cable. What comes through loud is an album of attitude, brilliant scuzzy hooks and mild psychedelia.