Familiarity is a sin in the musical world. It's not one often talked about out loud, but in the dark corners, basements and dungeons of the world (We still have dungeons?), hearing the same musical stylings over and over again can drive even the most lenient of fans insane. It's not that they want to despise a band, but it's hard to like them when they're doing the same thing everyone else is doing at the moment (Think autotuning). However, some bands are safe from the vitriol other acts face in this respect simply because they have that certain special something (I think it's called musical ability). The Philter, thankfully, appear to have that.
The Philter play a more drone-like version of surf-rock, firmly entrenching themselves in the popular genre that has seemed to get more over-saturated by the day. The opening track, "The Sea", doesn't really break new ground here, but it doesn't have to. It's catchy, but simple guitar riff (Which is any surf-rock bands bread and butter, really) cascades itself through the track effortlessly, giving it a catchy vibe I initially didn't think possible. "The Roses", the fourth track on the EP, also stands out with it's quick-paced tempo and its guitar riff that sounds a bit too similar to The Misfits "Some Kind Of Hate" (But, really, what chord progression hasn't been recreated at this point? There are only so many strings/chords on a guitar). It gets a bit sluggish at times, but still comes out in the end as a solid track.
"Broken Wrist" is an interesting track, simply because it tries a couple of head-scratching combinations that work in the end. While it goes for the more psychobilly approach musically, there's a low-fi electronic vibe that settles itself into the background somehow, managing to blend the two seemlessly together. It's not a perfect match, but the fact that it works is testament to their creative juices in the first place. The last two tracks on the EP, "Saturday Night" and "Collapse" are more filler than anything. "Saturday Night" isn't a poor song, but it just doesn't have the passion the other more rock inspired pieces had, and it's slow paced nature doesn't mesh well with the overall vibe these guys seem to be able to produce. "Collapse" though, seems like a bit of a mess, blending the surf-rock vibe with what feels like 90's pop music. An airy piano part rings over the echo-laced guitar riffs, leaving us more confused than anything as to why they didn't know what they were doing.
The Sea is not a bad EP by any stretch on the imagination, but it hardly does anything new. Thankfully, some of the songs are catchy enough to save it from truly bursting into hellfire, and really, when they're doing what they do best, they do it well. Just don't expect them to wow you into thinking they're groundbreaking.