My journey into the world of Jerkcurb began, embarrassingly, as so many sojourns with unfamiliar artists often do: via the lull of great album art. “It looks like a great place to retire,” a friend intoned upon my sharing Air Con Eden’s cover. Turns out, it’s not an altogether dishonest take on the music found here, either.

Jerkcurb exists in some odd, alternate world, easy to lose yourself within, but far harder to escape with any coherent explanation of it. In short, it’s quite deceptive. Debut album Air Con Eden always presents itself as a picturesque environment, whether the slow trot of the cowboy’s day off tinge of ‘Somerton Beach’, the smooth harmonies of the title track, or numerous other examples. Mind you, ‘Somerton Beach’ tells of the famous unsolved death of a rumoured spy in Australia.

Jacob Read, who performed with Horsey before crafting Jerkcurb, enjoys toying with his audience. While there’s an undeniable, pleasant beauty to his music, the listener never loses a sense of wariness, a cognizance of something else, perhaps benign, slithering beneath. The world of Air Con Eden may indeed be a lovely one to lose yourself within, but it’s a Lynchian one, holding more in common with the town of Twin Peaks than any Never Ever Land.

Read has built carefully to this moment, testing the waters single by single over the past few years, allowing himself to arrive on the shores of Eden naturally. Despite not releasing his first single under the moniker until 2016, Read has been performing as Jerkcurb since 2012. He knows not to rush a good thing, and that sense of patience pervades the distanced, deliberate world of this debut.

What exactly is Jerkcurb? Having listened for several months, time and again, I’m still unsure. In its opening track, one hears slight shades of Modest Mouse, only to stumble into bits of Elvis Presley the next. The world of Air Con Eden is a restless one, and yet one that feels altogether cohesive. Tying it all together is the slightly muted, distantly melancholy vision of Jacob Read. When the world around you is moving all too fast, Eden has the ability to slow things down. No matter how frenetic your day, this is an album that offers an eerie sense of calm. It may be a bit of an inscrutable debut, and certainly one that invites critical thinking far beyond a casual listen, but it’s an infinitely rewarding, promising one. You may just find yourself wanting to retire on its shores more often than you expect.