Brooklyn by way of North Shore, Long Island — long time trio of friends — Chuck, Ryan and Jimmy, aka Nude Beach present their newest album release, II on the freshly launched label Other Music Recording Co. out August 14, 2012. The album has all the bounce of power-pop but with the raw edge of classic rock played at a punk rock pace. II feels like a formative piece, perhaps a stepping stone to even greater things but still a timely release that can easily fit any summer playlist, providing a solid accompaniment for anything from road trips to backyard BBQs.
The jovial guitar and swinging drums of first track “Radio” are catchy and comforting but come and go quickly in just over two minutes. The band begins to dig into the meat and potatoes of their album with “Walkin’ Down My Street,” offering up high energy classic rock and roll with a melodic touch. Lead singer Chuck Betz channels an impressive but less sleepy sounding, Tom Petty-esque drawl that croons, “Oh baby, you got what I need, so darlin’ tonight, won’t you come home with me, I don’t care if you see me cry or bleed, I just need you baby.” The punchy drums can easily instigate a clap along and serve as a solid backbone to a brief but nostalgically evocative guitar solo. There’s no shortage of catchiness when it comes served back-to-back with “Some Kinda Love” which boasts a heavy wall of sound from the bass. Add infectious, sing-it-like-you-mean-it vocals for a smooth ride; the song becomes a perfect tune for cruisin’, rolling down the windows and enjoying the ride. It’s a sweet summer banger with an edgy kiss.
A few songs on the album felt too heavily reliant on hometown and childhood influences such as Springsteen, The Replacements and The Jam — almost to the point of feeling a little formulaic. The band also has a background of playing in various punk/hardcore bands but you wouldn’t necessarily catch that, as that attitude doesn’t shine through as much as it could. Small, but essential it-factor elements, such as vocal harmonies were missed several times in tracks like “You Make It So Easy” as they were only hinted at rather than fully engaged. Perhaps, chalk that up to the technical difficulty of simply getting lost in the mix, but nonetheless, a bit disappointing. Fortunately, they bounced back with the more successful pop leanings and lyrical strong arm of “Keep It Cool” and the slow tempo, reverb doting lullaby “Don’t Have to Try” which reeled me back in with soulful organ and guitar solo-love. The album ends strong with “Loser in the Game,” an utterly satisfying song that rides high on rolling guitar riffs, jangly drums and feels lyrically reminiscent of 60s girl-group hits, but with an energy that is all Nude Beach.
Nude Beach make solid strides with II but fall prey at times to the weight of their musical influences instead of standing up on their own. Technical losses in the mix keep them just an arms-length from reaching full throttle. However, the spirited trio are talented, dedicated to DIY musical communities and they know how to rock out. They are definitely teetering on the edge of a total underground knockout. II proves they’re good and the future will show us if they’re great — only time will tell … tick-tock.
Album Review by Emily Saex
A September 2012 West Coast tour is in the works, so stay tuned for those dates (details TBD) and see how they rock live!
- To Listen to Nude Beach’s “Walkin’ Down My Street” & “Some Kind of Love” click here.