This review was written in response to a submission to BDCwire’s “Review Anything August” campaign. The opinions in this review are those solely of the author and not of BDCwire as a publication. Stay tuned to BDCwire for more reviews from this feature. 

One glance at Dunstable quartet Surprise Party’s bandcamp page isn’t exactly a promising one. Luckily, graphic design that looks like if were constructed on Kid Pix doesn’t reflect the sweetened post-grunge melodies that the band’s “Live at the Sad Café” presents. Recording quality must be taken with a grain of salt, as it’s live and not particularly strong, but a few songs in, you’ll find yourself ignoring the over-fuzzy “ooohs” and being transfixed on the intricate lead guitar work of Rorie Malerbie, whose reverby doses stir in a baked-over Real Estate feel. Vocal snark and a more robust rhythmic approach balances the sound out well too. If this band could take advantage of some studio time, the results could be quite pleasant.