Surfaces new album, Horizons, is a beautifully hopeful masterpiece


A golden orb rises into the soft coral sky, spilling out over the lightening purple mountains and filling the little sliver of the world with warmth. You can almost see the boats bobbing in the bay as they begin to become drenched in soft sunlight. That feeling of standing on a mountain ridge, rising early to watch the sun’s birth, and the world awakening pulls at your heart when you gaze at that rising ball of sunshine. Everything feels possible. It’s a new day. 

Almost everything about Surfaces’ new album, Horizons, hums new beginnings.

From the cover art to the title — from the first song to the last — it’s obvious a new season is on the horizon.

Only two things don’t change: Surfaces’ quality and their attention to detail. 

A good look at their album shows that Surfaces members Forrest Frank and Colin Padalecki are all about two things: brightening their listeners’ days and staying true to their burgeoning musical ability.

The album’s beginning song, a wordless sunrise, is likely my favorite song of the entire twelve-song track. “Rising” is a minute-and-forty-one-second long sunrise. A prelude to the album that follows, “Rising” is like a palate cleanser, preparing you for the following songs by slowly awakening your senses. 

The song begins slowly, filling your head with the scratchy texture of dawn. Wind chimes sway in the breeze as ocean waves roll to and from the shore. And on the waves begin to roll in bits and pieces of former and future songspartial words, half-formed chords. 

And then, sunshine — of the spunkiest early morning variety. 

The summer sun continues in the third song of the album “Good Day.” The song starts with a beat reminiscent of “The Girl from Ipanema,” but the majority of the song fits more with Surfaces’ other music in terms of sound and style. “Good Day” builds off of the upbeat feeling from the first two tracks, talking about the relationship between the sun and good days. It brings the feeling of a shimmery, sunlit, dreamy high school summer as Surfaces sings “no more school/no more rules/no more room to feel these blues.”

The fourth song, “Lazy,” had been released prior to this album and is a creative juxtaposition of upbeat tempo and a lover’s call to relax. If “Good Day” was a high school summer, “Lazy” is what we all imagine that first semester of college to be. A whirlwind of activity clouded in a hazy golden dream state. The rush of a new life and the comfort of constant love.

“Lazy” is followed by “Bloom.” An old-world pop vibrates through the first twenty seconds of the song. The moment Frank and Paladecki begin to sing, their proclivity for a Californian, dreamy, summer style is evident. Lyrics like “the color of your eyes and the Malibu skies” are not only an example of their surf-boy inclinations and a beautiful lyrical comparison but also the first instance of the color motif which flows through this song. 

“Bloom” is, in fact, not about the flowers I assumed it would be about but instead “watching and feeling all the colors bloom.” A beautiful description of what it feels like to fall into chaotic, passionate love — as broad as the shades of blue in the ocean and just as deep. 

The next song, “Sunny Side Up,” has a slower beat but is one of the happiest songs on the track. An extended metaphor for putting your happy self first, the entire song is about breakfast and the importance of having your “sunny side up.” I love this song because I have always associated breakfast with the calm of a rising sun and the happiness of sitting down to breakfast while the day awakens. The song has romantic moments in which it refers to another person saying, “you and me would make the best omelet.” 

However, it never explicitly says who the song is talking about — and I love that. It could be a significant other, or a brother, a sister, a mother — we can have these life-saving bonds with so many people in our lives.  

A little over halfway through the album, “Sky Interlude” breaks through to be exactly what it says it is: an interlude. At a minute and nine seconds, “Sky Interlude” has only one lyric, “won’t you just hold your head up high,” repeated under soft strumming. Thirty-six seconds into the song, the song breaks out in earnest, and the lyrics are replaced with simple vocals, ending, perfectly, with the twittering of birds. 

“Remedy,” which directly followed the interlude, made me feel as if I was standing on a white sand beach listening to my friends laugh and sing and play guitar under the sun. After experiencing dark days myself, the song’s message that the remedy is the good energy and memories of mornings in the sun really resonated with me. 

Again, this song had the sounds of birds entwined into the song, a motif I was beginning to love even more by the time I made it to this song — fifth to the end of the album. 

Although many of the songs in this album have to do with the relationships that fill our lives, “Dancing With Nobody” juxtaposes them beautifully. It’s a gorgeous depiction of self-love and the importance of reaching a point of maturity in which you can dance with nobody and know that things are going to change — and that it’s all okay.

Another beautiful juxtaposition occurs in “All Around.” The song begins by listing things that have gone wrong, but the way in which Frank and Paladecki present it is too catchy to truly be sad. At this point in the album, it’s easy to become numb to the true meaning of the songs; however, “All Around” is a deeply important track and deserves undivided attention. Once the music surrounding the lyrics is broken through, you find a song that is in many ways a mission statement for Surfaces. Their website states that they simply want to bring love to the world, and “All Around” artfully develops that mission. 

Repeated throughout the song is the statement “before the sun goes down/imma take this love and spread it all around.” This is why Surfaces exists. Beyond beautiful music, beyond bending genre stereotypes, Surfaces is beautiful because of their ever-present heart. They are who they are because they truly believe that the world needs music.

“These kids need light right now.” 

“Horizons,” the namesake of the album, is definitely the richest and most vibey of all twelve songs. I also think it was, ironically, the least “sunny.” While all the other songs of the album were the fun of sunny summer adventures, “Horizons” is a roiling ocean sending careening waves towards the rocky white cliffs — emotions diving to the depths of the ocean. Not the soft blue of a sunrise, but the deep blue of the uncharted sea. 

And then the final song, “Keep It Gold.” 

Frank and Paladecki pull all the stops — cars starting, jazz solos, and more — for this final song to create a culmination of their summery album: a promise to never let the sun set.