by Allison Kridle
Awareness is at a all time low these days. It seems like every person you pass on the street hangs their head low peering at a rectangle or their gaze goes right through you. This isn’t the age of noticing things unless the information or idea is presented on a screen. Thankfully, there is some kind of humanity left and Nick Rattigan, the musician behind Current Joys, is an exemplary role model for those who do not wish to shy away at their existence or the life of others. The Nevada-based musician’s most recent LP A Different Age, is a long and winded album tinted with grey hues, but with light and clarity gleaming through it’s poked holes. Listening to Rattigan’s exhaustive moans and gloomy compositions is like experiencing a realization, maybe about oneself or the universe as we know it.
Current Joys has been a hyper emotive and poetic project of Rattigan’s ever since his initial LP Wild Heart in 2013, especially compared to his other endeavors like the indie garage band Surf Curse. Rattigan’s youth and the act of finding oneself seamlessly shines through in Surf Curse; whereas in Current Joys, but specifically A Different Age, it’s as if he has put himself under a microscope and viewing his self thus far.
Rattigan addresses fear and anxiety in the song “Fear,” as he compares the unwanted feeling to a storm that won’t stop or he can’t control. He sings, “I never felt it when I was young / I never knew where it came from / Now I feel it like a hurricane / And it’s so hard to stop the rain.” His distressed yelps thrive alongside plush, deep twangy riffs and a synthy melody creating the precise atmosphere for the clouds that engulf him at times.
The majority of the album feels as if Rattigan is sharing his thoughts or perspective on certain experiences with new wave inspired melancholic arrangements. It’s one of those albums that’s easy to put on in the background and glaze over, but actually taking in what Rattigan is saying is the most crucial piece. The six-minute track “No Words,” serves as a not-so brief intermission. Rattigan’s shriveled voice is nowhere to be heard. It offers a pale drum beat and abrupt glassy sound effects that sound like euphoric screeches. By the end of it, you may yearn to hear his voice once again.
Sometimes being in touch with reality and being self aware becomes too much and gets to the point of wanting to run away or existing elsewhere. In the tender track “Alabama,” Rattigan talks about escaping to a distant planet where “none of the stars know [his] name.” He sings, “I’m sick of being somewhere that I can’t stand / Chipping away at the days / Think I’d be better on a distance planet 2000 light years away.”
It’s clear in the song “A Different Age,” that Rattigan has a good idea about the world in which he is creating art and where it is going to flourish once it emerges from his studio. Next to a slow tempo and hollow jangly riffs Rattigan sings, “Oh, you don't know me 'cause I'm from a different age/ And you can't see me 'cause I live in a different age/ And you can hurt me but you wouldn't know what to say/ But you should believe me, our dreams are all the same/ Like a life without love/ God, that's just insane/ But a love without a life/ Well, that just happens everyday/ And I wish I could change, but I'll probably just stay the same/ And I wish you could see the Lord/ But this song is a joke and the melody I wrote, wrote!” No matter how one sees the universe and their place in it, I think Rattigan thoroughly emphasized that we are more alike and in touch with others than we realize, and maybe that’s humanity.