Whenever you hear a solo project from a member of a band that’s become popular, you may tend to be wary. Either because it sounds exactly like their band, or because it sounds nothing like it. For us, we love when these projects come about, especially when it’s not what we were expecting. With Current Joys, Nick Rattigan of Surf Curse shows a more emotional and vulnerable side, while releasing some of the most introspective music of his career. His 2018 release A Different Age is a mix of bedroom pop, indie rock, and traditional pop.
While Rattigan released the first two tracks as singles, and both “Become the Warm Jets” and “Fear” are gems in their own rights, the magic of the album really begins with the slow and heavily emotive sounds of “Alabama.” The way the guitar strums alongside strings while Rattigan’s vocals sound like he’s wrought in emotional pain are truly extraordinary. In a time when you hear lots of fake emotions in music, here Rattigan sounds like he’s fighting back the tears and it’s simply beautiful.
This idea of emotive music occurs a couple more times on the release with “Way out Here” and on “My Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days,” where the heft of the vocals and the darker progression of the songs shows the depth of what Rattigan sings. That being said, it’s not a typically dark record either. There’s plenty of pop joy in tracks like “In a Year of 13 Moons” and “A Different Age.” But again, we’re fans of the heavy and even songs like the album’s closer “Fox” should remind you of the heavier handed songs of Elliott Smith or Conor Oberst. However you hear it, whatever parallels you draw, Current Joys evokes all the isolation and self doubt we all feel at times, and that alone makes the album worthy of your ears.
You can stream A Different Age on all streaming platforms, you can purchase it in all digital shops including Bandcamp, or on multiple formats directly from Danger Collective Records. Current Joys will be on tour beginning January 31 in San Diego at Irenic until March 02 at Strummer’s in Fresno, CA. A complete run down of his upcoming tour dates can be found here.
Image Credits: Photo by Matthew James Wilson.