BEST TRACKS: Maps to the Stars, River’s Edge, Opera
FCC violations: Hour of the Wolf, Opera
A year after Nick Rattigan released A Different Age on his solo project under the moniker Current Joys, Nevada-based alternative duo Nick Rattigan and Jacob Rubeck returned to the front of the scene with a magical new release Heaven Surrounds You.
My first thought when I picked up this album and read the name was “wow, what a beautiful thought”’. Heaven surrounds you. I appreciated the assertive delivery of this message. The title of this album isn’t asking and it isn’t suggesting- it’s straight up telling you that the world is a beautiful place and you don’t have to wait until you die to find happiness. At least, that’s what I thought before listening to the album. As it turns out, this album is as self-deprecating and anguished as ever. I should have known. Surf Curse: feeling like a freak since 2013. But if it counts for anything, the last track, Jamie, closes out the album with this hopeful message: I love the people in my life. All my friends keep me alive.
Though I’m a big fan of the band’s traditional rough and visceral sound, I admit that Surf Curse cleaned up nicely with this Album. Heaven Surrounds You is Surf Curse’s most mature and polished album to date, more cinematic and sounding less like it was recorded in the basement and put together on Garageband 2.2. Saccharine violin on tracks on several tracks give the album a coming of age movie-like feel.
This is the perfect album for a road trip out west, with its sunny, lively guitar and dreamy vocals. The drums are modest yet toe-tapping, taking a back seat to the more melodic instruments on the album. Even the darker sounding tracks on this album, like Opera and Trust, have sweet, cinematic breakdowns and one-two rhythms that maintain the energy throughout.
I recommend giving this album a listen if you like Beach Fossils, the Frights, or Arcade Fire.