music

Another Romantic Sadboi Soundtrack: Surf Curse’s ‘Heaven Surrounds You’ Album Review

October 2, 2019

Ian Cranfield

Two years after their sophomore release, Nothing Yet, Surf Curse have yet again created another soundtrack for sad boys and girls.

Surf Curse is a collaboration between Current Joys’ Nick Rattigan and Gap Girls’ Jacob Rubeck. Heaven Surrounds You is their newest project – and longest album to date. This “coming of age epic” – as it’s referred to on their Bandcamp page – features track titles inspired by cult films they’ve cherished throughout their young adult lives.

Before this album’s release, the duo released three songs that were received with warm praise by old and new fans. The songs were ‘Disco’, ‘Midnight Cowboy’, and ‘Hour of the Wolf’. With addictive rhythms and guitar melodies that make you want to get up and dance, ‘Disco’ is a story about two star-crossed lovers sharing an intimate moment fuelled by the need to dance. Already reaching two million streams on Spotify, ‘Disco’ is one of those songs that will always take you back to your first time hearing it and keep you dancing even now.

‘Midnight Cowboy’, written by Jacob Rubeck, is titled after the cult film. With lyrics “I’ve been living like a midnight cowboy, dreaming of the days of a different life,” the song follows similar themes to the film: it’s about going to a big city to find a true love who has money, but ending up not finding love at all but a friendship. I imagine this is something that happened to Nick and Jacob as they moved to Los Angeles from Nevada.

During an Audiotree session in 2017, Surf Curse debuted a song called ‘River’s Edge’. In the comments section, fans wondered how the song would be released. Finally, it’s now released with Heaven Surrounds You. When I first heard the song, I thought Surf Curse was paying another homage to the show Twin Peaks with the lyric “always felt like someone else”. This could still be true, but since I realised this quote was said in the new 2017 Twin Peaks season, it was probably not possible that they made this reference in a song created at the same time as the season came out. But who knows, perhaps they saw a sneak peek of the show.

In this album, it’s easy to hear a connection to Nick Rattigan’s solo project – Current Joys – where he wrote an album that looks inward more and features songs about awareness of fear and anxiety. In a track titled, ‘Safe’, Nick repeats “I’m safe alone” five times at the end. This track demonstrates the vulnerabilities of being insecure and dealing with anxiety. The tracks ‘Trust’ and ‘Opera’ also address the theme of anxiety.

Heaven Surrounds You ends with a song titled ‘Jamie’. The character ‘Jamie’ is referred to as the wild one, and the song is about being with friends and having a good time. The uptempo guitars and keyboards will make you dance and bob your head, but towards the end it slows down and the voices of Surf Curse instantly draw your attention to the lyrics:

I love all the people in my life, All my friends keep me alive.

But the song isn’t over yet, and it starts to build up to a melodic ending that makes you crave more Surf Curse.