Brisbane’s favourite shoegaze and indie surf quartet, The Double Happiness, have been making waves in the local scene with a tsunami of groove-inducing tunes, and now fans can enjoy their sun-soaked gems all in one go on their debut album Surfgazing, which they’re here to ‘surf’ us through.
Described as a reverb-drenched ode to afternoons spent sun-kissed and wave-side, Surfgazing features popular singles Wild Bikini, Coochiemudlo and Oysters Can Dream, along with seven more glorious tracks that will have fans of acts like Pixies, The B-52s and Brisbane’s own The Go-Betweens feeling like they’ve entered a heavenly shoegaze love shack.
“There is a strong undercurrent of surf guitar on all our tracks,” said guitarist and vocalist, Kristin Black. “But some answer the call of the waves more than others. Wild Bikini harkens back to 1960s B-grade Beach Party movies and sitcoms, think Frankie and Annette meet I Dream of Jeannie whereas Oysters Can Dream swells in shoegaze trippiness.”
Comprised of two couples who love to infuse quirky musings and local sentiments into their musical numbers, The Double Happiness’ Surfgazing is sure to inject tingles of joy and wonderment into any occasion.
“These guys have packed so much into this album’s 40 minutes,” said John Russell, manager of 4000 Records. “One minute you’re at a ’60s beach romp, the next your Doc Martens’ are stomping through the concrete jungle to the pummeling rhythm of an ’80s post-punk bass-line and then you’re swept away to a tiny island shoreline and being beckoned by psychedelic sirens and a thousand kaleidoscopic jellyfish.”
Giving us a glimpse into the minds and methods behind the music, here’s The Double Happiness to ‘surf’ us through their debut album track-by-track.
‘SURFGAZING’ TRACK-BY-TRACK BY THE DOUBLE HAPPINESS
- RED BEACH
A time capsule of a forgotten Bribie Island, the road in, the locals and coming of age. An ode to a secluded beach laced with a sense of longing to a more innocent time. Kristin recalls her first teaching experience in the early 90’s – country service in a quiet tropical paradise. The band all love a good male/female vocal and this one really nails the vibe. Kristin’s light and airy vocal makes poignant observations and Pete’s low vocal adds an emotional edge to the memory.
- OYSTERS CAN DREAM
Born of a dream, this song plunges to the salty depths of the oysters subconscious. Do oysters dream? Do their dreams make waves? Why wouldn’t they? Putting the gaze into our Surfgaze, this song is the personification of the humble mollusc.
This riff has been floating around for 30 years, and finally found its watery home.The clip (one of Simon’s best) was inspired by the 1971 Bewitched episode, ‘Samantha and the Loch Ness Monster,’ where Serena has a long overdue catch up with her Bruce. The clip features our first foray with a greenscreen and has a few cameos of Lobby the Lobster. Meg and Simon’s ten-year-old dressed in a full green suit and walked around us with stuffed toys of fish including a Nemo to attempt to recreate Serena’s underwater adventure. Sadly, these parts didn’t make the final cut but inspired much giggling! Especially during Kristin and Meg’s vaguely ABBA-style talking/singing verse!
- WILD BIKINI
Inspired by the vintage beach flick How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, this song is covered in shimmering sand from top to bottom. The kind that sticks to your thong and winds up on the seat of your car. It has a haunting Persian call a little reminiscent of I Dream of Jeannie, which is juxtaposed by a frightening shout to get on down to that Beach Party cats! Pete’s vocals go a little Black Francis as we head down to the waves wearing our Doc Martens and skinny jeans…making it near impossible to surf those mesmerising waves.
You’re on a ferry, staring at the water when the spectacle of a thousand jellyfish hits you. You’re on your way to Coochiemudlo Island, where the waves are low and the vibes are alriiiiight. We released Coochiemudlo during Brisbane’s COVID lockdown. It seemed like just the right pace for days that melted into the next and a yearning for a change of scene…an island dream!
Kristin was harmonising with the dishwasher one night (as you do), and shortly after, a post-punk bass line was born. Not just a cleaning product, Finish is about completionism: Life is short. Begin it now. Finish what you came to do. Dishes included!Simon’s drums hit the off the chart level energy zone in this track. He is an unstoppable drum MACHINE! If we were a band that didn’t love their instruments so much this would be the song where we smash up the gear at the end! Playing this one live is such a buzz, Pete’s country twang rocks through the verse of utterances, while the infectious and shambolic chorus demands you to ‘Finish what you came to do.” Then, we swirl out into a mad bass slide crescendo before ending on a cliffhanger.
- SNAPPER ROCKS
A surf at Snapper Rocks near Greenmount Beach, one of our favourites. In typical TDH fashion, local references are mixed with nostalgia, as we remember the Gold Coast’s Meter Maids. Imagine a most deadly swell in this beautiful place. The rumbling floor toms and rolling riffs beckon the waves’ fury unleashed. Yeah….
- SPOOKI TIKI
If Nancy and Lee went on The Brady Bunch Hawaiian Vacation, this (almost) instrumental would have been the soundtrack to their holiday. Whoever wore the Spooki Tiki was doomed (insert Vincent Price evil laugh). If the warning song of the theremin is ignored, then stumbling horror and primal screams will manifest! We had a riot recording the screams on this one and this is the only song featuring Simon’s vocals!
- KEV (RISHIKESH)
Pete lost his best mate in 1998. Kev went swimming in India and never returned. He loved the limelight and his soul revels in reverb heaven as we bring his memory into song. Playing live, this one brings people to the dancefloor into a swirling frenzy, very Kev style, with guitar licks and atmospheric narrative.
Who are we, who are you, who am I? This track is the quintessential existential. Everything sounds better in French, or does it? In any case this track is smooth and sultry at the start, then rips into a rockin’ surf lead all the way to shore. The main vocals are Meg’s recorded two days after breaking out of hospital after a bad case of pneumonia…there is passion from the deep clear lungs measured in those notes, like a grateful songbird released from her cage.
- NOT WHAT YOU SAID
Communication breakdowns and misunderstandings inspired this one. Note to self: Remember The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word (Don Miguel Ruiz). The song unfolds like an inner dialogue, first literally questioning through the lyrics then figuratively exploring the misunderstood promise through the music. A rollicking yet dreamy riff floats through the song, folds in on itself and expands out as it lifts and tumbles you through a waterslide of thought and ponder.This is our favourite track to play live. Something happens where Kristin and Meg get caught up in a guitar/bass synchronicity while Pete creates a “chill factor 10” experience with his heart soaring lead and Simon’s crashes and snares hypnotise us into a frenzy…the reverie is only woken by our exultant shout of 1234!