Surfaces, consisting of Forrest Frank and Colin Padalecki, is an uplifting group that creates feel-good melodies that you can’t help but smile to. Surfaces’ distinctive sound hardly fits into one defining genre, as their music contains pop, hip-hop, calypso, reggae and soul influences.
Whether or not you’re familiar with the spirited Texas-based duo, Surfaces makes the kind of music that you play to start your morning off on a good note, or when you need a pick-me-up after a long and stressful day. Surfaces promotes infectious positivity in their songs and is featured on popular Spotify playlists such as “Mood Booster,” “Good Vibes” and “DOPAMINE.” Once you hear Frank’s soothing vocals and Padalecki’s rich and breezy beats, you are instantly transported to your happy place where no worries exist. So lay back, loosen up and let’s talk about the most positive, vibe-worthy band that you should be listening to this summer.
“We’ll be all right,” the newly formed duo reminds us in their first ever single, “Be Alright,” which released back in September 2017.
After meeting through SoundCloud, the pair went on to record the hopeful song and their beachy, debut album, “Surf” — released later that year in December — on Frank’s houseboat. Certainly, what Surfaces created was an optimistic first album that established the duo’s “sun-lit kids” brand. The pair describes their music as a “mental escape”: “It’s upbeat, but it’s also introspective. It’s peaceful, it’s calm, it’s wavy, it’s sunny, it’s all of the above.” Their first album perfectly embodies these melodic elements through their airy, Bublé-esque piano lilts, serene ukulele strums, tropical marimba chimes, echoing backing harmonies and lively, feel-good choruses.
The digital album cover of “Surf” invokes both a calm and reflective feeling: There’s a sunset over the horizon on a beach with a computer laid on the sand. It tells us right off the bat that their music takes us right to the beach — where a 30-minute journey of love, passion, gratitude and childlike wonder awaits us. Surface’s floaty, introduction song “The Way” characterizes the confident, youthful spirit of the album with lyrics such as, “Don’t know where we’re going / But I know we’ll be okay.” The album inspires us to release our inner child and not take life too seriously because just like Frank and Padalecki, we can all be “sun-lit kids.” “Surf” closes out with the nostalgic, dreamy tune “Kid Kingdoms,” which has a gentle, chord progression akin to a children’s music box. It’s a perfect finish to a thoughtful and melodic album.
Where the Light Is (2019)
Another short and sweet release — Surfaces’ vibrant musical palette is further developed in their sophomore album, “Where the Light Is.” The groovy album is rich in its blend of soul, jazz and their signature feel-good pop. The sultry saxophone, bounce of the bass, creamy piano sound and slick guitar strums give it a relaxed vibe. Just as with their last album’s artwork, Surfaces takes the beach as a primary inspiration for their music, seen just outside of a colorful kitchen. Surfaces’ ever-present positivity shines in their lyrics and encourages us to look “where the light is” — that is, to have an appreciative attitude and focus on the good things in life.
Their biggest hit to date, “Sunday Best,” which went viral on Spotify and TikTok in 2020, epitomizes this belief and unveils a spiritual depth alongside songs “Heaven Falls / Fall on Me” and “Grace.” Frank explained the purpose behind the viral hit: “It’s like getting out of that and seeing the light of day and accepting who you are and accepting your situation and saying, ‘I’m going to just breathe this air and have a good day.’” It’s clear that the duo doesn’t just want us to approach life in a naively optimistic way. We must instead acknowledge both the light and dark in our lives yet still choose to walk in the light. Because even if the sun goes down, we have to keep the “Shine on Top,” and enjoy “This View” while we can.
“Leave your worries right at the door.” In 2020, Surfaces released “Horizons,” another carefree album built on good times, sunny days and kicking it with your friends during the summertime. Their eye-catching album artwork features a sunrise over the “horizon” with mountains and water all around. It’s a fun, breezy album from start to finish and flows smoothly from one song to the next. Singles such as “Take It Easy,” “Keep it Gold,” “Good Day,” “Bloom” and a personal favorite, “Lazy,” are refreshing reminders to keep it simple and relax.
Since life can feel overwhelming and busy at times, it is important to slow down and kick back once in a while. Surfaces fully embraces this worry-free belief and encourages us to appreciate where we are in our lives. They also spread love and good energy in chill tracks “Remedy” and “All Around.” The duo remains comfortable with putting out music that promotes a positive mindset. And if you ask me, it’s totally working.
Surfaces’ latest album, 2021’s “Pacifco,” is a catchy, effortless listen that includes their trademark pop sound but this time, with a fresh rhythmic bliss and a splash of melancholy. The duo recorded the album with the beautiful coastline of Malibu right in front of them: “For almost a month we woke up to this special scenic outlook and just made what that feeling gave us, hoping that our fans would be able to hear what we were seeing.” The summer-like sounds and peaceful sunset artwork of “Pacifico” certainly capture their Malibu paradise. Along with the wind-down nature of this album, the warm and emotional tone behind each song reveals a deeper layer of emotional vulnerability for the pair. Notably, a calming guitar harmony, drumbeat and backing vocals cover the songs “Hideaway,” “So Far Away,” “Next Thing (Loverboy),” “Let It Ride,” “With You” and “Pacifico.”
However, they don’t lose sight of their familiar, beachside sounds and hopeful sentiments. “Let Me Know,” “Wave of You” and “Yours” all evoke their signature sound. Surfaces also teamed up with a number of artists — for example, their humble tune “On Time” features pop singer Quinn XCII. “Feels the Same,” a wistful melody, features Public Library Commute. “Come With Me” is a romantic charmer recorded with salem ilese and mellow R&B jam “Come Around” features Xavier Omar. The deluxe version, which released a few months later, features even more artists: Tai Verdes, Thomas Rhett, Benny Sings and Kid Indigo. With diverse collaborations, Surfaces takes their musical prowess to new heights.
Surfaces released new singles “Rooftops,” “What’s Been on Your Mind?” and “I Can’t Help but Feel” this year. Their upcoming album “Hidden Youth” is set to release on Aug. 26. Surfaces proves to be at their best when it comes to creating music that makes people smile. There’s no doubt that another positive and fun album is coming our way!