When Charleston native Justin Osborne writes songs, he draws from both his town’s homegrown music and his time spent in Havana, Cuba, where he studied anthropology and became entrenched in its local scene. Osborne returned to Charleston in 2013 and founded SUSTO as a vehicle for that music. Just two years later, the five-piece band released a live album with Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell—a good reference point for the SUSTO sound: twangy indie folk with a good sense of humor.
SUSTO’s latest track, “Chillin’ on the Beach with My Best Friend Jesus Christ,” has plenty of the latter. Today, Nerdist is premiering a video for the song. Osborne talked to us about its motivation:
“Growing up in deeply religious households and revering Jesus Christ as a personalized figure; we wanted to portray a real religious experience in a way that reflects our contemporary lifestyle. In no way is the song or video meant to be offensive, on the contrary we are trying to bridge the gap between believer and non-believer. We want to encourage a lighthearted approach to finding unity in a world of differences.”
And by all these measures they certainly succeed. As the video begins, the band transforms a wooded picnic area into a makeshift church, complete with pews, their Sunday best, and, of course, kegs, solo cups, and dancing. Our first glimpse of the messiah is him emerging from the water, nude and in reverse motion, to catch a beer tossed his way—like only He could do. It’s the kind of bible camp every 14-year-old has ever dreamed of.
The song itself is loosely hymnal with its heavy dose of church organ. Any seriousness that might connote, though, is balanced by Osborne’s clever lyrics: “Going out for beers / but not too many beers / with Jesus Christ” and “Jesus came down on a cross / rose from the dead like a boss.”
It’s a catchy folk tune that functions as both bible camp parody and beachfront anthem. Regardless of whether you’re a believer, non-believer, or something in between, it’s tough to argue that “Chillin’ on the Beach with My Best Friend Jesus Christ” isn’t a ton of fun.
The band’s sophomore full-length, & I’m Fine Today, will be released soon. Until then, check out this video and go chill on the beach with your best friend—be it Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, Bob, or anybody else.
Featured Image: Wesley Vance