"Books by Thoreau" starts off pretty intense with a metal-esque guitar repetition, and some group vocals. It's a pretty simple song, but the more you listen to it, the more you really like it. The guitar melody stays the same way the whole song, but they slowly keep adding more to it. Slowly, the song starts to fill out more and more and more until the guitar line is just in the background and it's this awesome float-y music.
It transitions wonderfully into "Realometer." It has a lot more variation- they change the style a lot more. The vocals are still kinda redundant, but that's okay. It sounds pretty cool. They sound a little like Shinobu to me, if Shinobu was really tired and peaceful. I love the random intricate harmonies that they throw into the simplicities.
"Mostly Harmless" has more percussion than most of the album. I also fell in love with the line "I'll never be, I'll never be the people who inspire me." For some reason, that line just took my heart. This song is mostly terrific lyrics.
"Last Chance to See" is a chorus of "Oh"s and "Ah"s. No, seriously.
Some of the best songs on the album are: "Photoshoot", "Realometer," "Daggermouth is Playing at My House", and "Hanging out with Wendy in Sulik Land"
Some songs have more of a bluesy sound like "Daggermouth..." and some are sad like "Direct Loans."
By Surprise is a great mix of instrumentals and vocals. The guitar, bass, drums, and all the different sounds they throw on different tracks always sound like they're intertwining with each other and I eat it up. They manage to make a basic sound out of something very intricate, and it rocks.