The New Releases Show reviews 'Surfgazing'
Local faves The Double Happiness bring a light touch to their big-kahuna-genre-blender of indie sounds on their latest, Surfgazing. Reviewed by Matt Thrower.
-After a number of outrageously catchy singles, Brisbane’s surf rock swooners The Double Happiness have finally unleashed their debut album. Its title, Surfgazing, could be interpreted as both a rough description of the music found within as well as a knowing, tongue-in-cheek nod to the ever expanding world of micro-genres.
Luckily, The Double Happiness’ music has a lightness of touch and elegance that lifts it well above the need to pigeonhole. The songs blend twanging guitars, post-punk bass lines, atmospheric haze and great use of both male and female vocals which bring a tasty Nancy and Lee vibe to proceedings.
Band members Meg and Simon Welchman and Kristin and Peter Fergusson grab our attention straight out of the gate with the gorgeous opener Red Beach, a jangle pop confection which would be perfect for your next coastal drive.
The whole record brims with aquatic-themed songs that makes it resemble both a kooky nautical concept album and an alternative garage rock soundtrack to Puberty Blues, Nell Schofield edition.
The album achieves one of my favourite things in music, which is to sound garagey and DIY, but also lush and dreamy, all in one go. Check the warm “room-sounding” drums and hypnotic Joy Division-meets-Dick Dale twang of Finish for evidence. The perilous ocean is honoured in the dangerous tale of Snapper Rocks, backed with those perfectly-picked surf guitars. There is also a warm, slightly melancholic, feeling of nostalgia to be found on Surfgazing, such as the stunning single, and possibly their finest song to date, Oysters Can Dream which boasts a chorus that is equal parts catchy and mournful. Quite an achievement.
While this wistfulness is a common thread throughout the album, it goes a bit bananas in parts too, such as the B-52s shimmy of Wild Bikini. Spooki Tiki, meanwhile, could be the soundtrack to a B-grade beach resort slasher movie, complete with scream queen exclamations and wild Theremin sounds.
From evocative surfer jams to wild rock and roll to shimmering indie pop, Surfgazing is a thoroughly enjoyable and diverse-yet-cohesive collection of tunes. A real treat.
- Matt Thrower.