From the bedroom to the bandroom: Current Joys brings DIY legacy to Melbourne

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From the bedroom to the bandroom: Current Joys brings DIY legacy to Melbourne

current joys
words by Kaya Martin

Current Joys are hard not to like.

The earwormy guitar riffs, the happy-go-lucky perfect fourth chord progressions, Nick Rattigan’s twangy vocals and lyrics about love, death and growing up… it’s a winning recipe. The heyday of Bandcamp DIY may be behind us, but bedroom pop is still alive and well.

And why wouldn’t it be? It’s cozy – endorphin-inducing and easy to play in the background of life – but it’s also cool, with an air of in-the-know mystique. I’d list Current Joys (and Rattigan’s other project, Surf Curse) as a jewel in the bedroom pop crown.

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But sometimes, when a band is so likable, I worry about seeing them live. Is it the kind of music that people casually enjoy, or can it actually fill a room?

As it turns out, I didn’t have anything to worry about with Current Joys. Prince Bandroom was packed – even getting from the bar to the bathroom required lots of weaving and “excuse me”s. What’s more, the crowd was surprisingly young. As someone who got into the band with their 2013 debut Wild Heart, I wasn’t expecting that.

And the fans were dedicated. Following an excellent warm-up by Melbourne shoegaze outfit Garage Sale (will be keeping a keen eye on them), Rattigan stepped out on stage and the crowd screamed. Those in the front row were gridlocked in place. A seccy tossed water bottles into the crowd.

The three-piece delivered a solid set, with a fine balance of new songs and old favourites. Tracks from the project’s tenth and most recent album, LOVE + POP, shined especially bright, even for an old head like myself.

The album’s title track was energetic and punchy, spun more punk than pop on the stage. Rattigan’s screamo growl on Cigarettes and the percussive flow of BB Put on Deftones showcased the album’s Drain Gang and Death Grips influences.

A cover of Lil Peep‘s Walk Away As The Door Slams fell a bit flat, mostly due to some confusion from the band. After a mock walk-off,  they returned with a five-song encore, closing with a duo of songs off their debut – New Flesh and Symphonia IX – offering the singalong moments of the evening.

Rattigan dropped Wild Heart when he was only 20 years old. Now, 11 years later, his dogged work ethic and wide-ranging influences have taken him to the top of his game and he’s got the fans to match. As we spilled out of the venue, I realised I’d been wrong in my perception of Current Joys.

The band has matured from its bedroom pop roots into something more well-considered and precise; more experimental and self-assured. It may have been their first time in Australia, but I don’t think it’ll be their last. Please come back!

To keep up with Current Joys, head here.