SURF CURSE: NOTHING YET
To see Surf Curse in concert is truly an experience - enjoying thrashy, upbeat, saline tunes performed by two earnest and sweaty young guys in a room full of people who find it impossible not to dance. Before their 2017 album, Nothing Yet, this was pretty much the only way to realize the true appeal of Surf Curse. The recordings on their first two EPs, Sad Boys and Buds, acted best as a stand-in for the concert experience that fans craved from Surf Curse, as much of the quality that makes the band so satisfyingly head-banging was lost on the content readily accessible on Spotify and Bandcamp.
Nothing Yet, while maintaining the sincerity and nostalgia of previous releases, is more stream-ready, doling out helpings of the Surf Curse experience that had, beforehand, only been available in live performances. Nothing Yet takes a step away from the desperate, chaotic plea of youth that makes Buds so distinctive, and leans toward a tighter and more polished sound.
This is not to say, however, that Nothing Yet suffers from the sleek, almost slimy recording quality that afflicts many of their contemporaries in efforts to sound developed and well-composed. Surf Curse maintains the unique fuzz and grit that is a large part of what makes them so attractive and finds a way to strike just the right chord between honest and grown-up.
Nothing Yet opens with “Christine F”, which touts a familiar, speedy tempo and the kind of repetitive, laid-back lyrics that have been a longtime hallmark of surf punk. The tracks become increasingly melancholy and slower, and seem to unwind in the listener’s ears in the best way possible. Gone is the unhinged adolescence of Buds,replaced with a reflective self-awareness. Throughout the album, it becomes increasingly evident that Surf Curse has settled into a signature sound and is striving, with much success, for unity on Nothing Yet, making each individual track easily recognizable as Surf Curse.
The lyrical content of Nothing Yet parallels its matured sound, grappling with such issues as time, longing, and self-doubt. This is in contrast with the sunny, often empty words of other bands in Surf Curse’s genre. The impactful meanings behind the likable tracks make them perhaps even more easy to relate to. Despite the heavier, Sam Ray-esque lyrics found on Nothing Yet, the album remains one that you want to use to blow out your speakers.
Surf Curse takes concrete steps away from Sad Boys and Buds to grow away from the fizzy, unfinished air that had previously defined them. Once easily labeled as a “live band,” the kind you had to see in concert to really understand, they diversify both their repertoire and their image with Nothing Yet, although Melted still highly recommends that you go and see them perform. As one of the most influential and distinctive bands in surf punk, it will be interesting and exciting to see where Surf Curse goes next, and how the rest of their genre will follow suit.
written by MAGGIE EWING