Nude Beach, II
At the front of the hard-knocks power-pop class
The escapist dream of half-imagined coastlines has inspired bands of many styles in recent years, at least in name: the synth grandeur of Beach House, the C86 idolatry of Beach Fossils, the greasy Elvis deconstructionism of Dirty Beaches. But Brooklyn trio Nude Beach’s hard-knocks power-pop places them toward the head of a class filled with bands like Wavves, Gentleman Jesse and Mind Spiders who are busy laughing at surfers from the safety of the garage. Like their guitar-toting colleagues, Nude Beach’s influences are classic, just roughed up: “Radio” evokes Tom Petty, “Walkin’ Down My Street” struts with Elvis Costello and so on.
Singer/guitarist Chuck Betz, a tough guy with a soft spot for true love, does his idols proud, and the album rises above its crate-digging thanks to songwriting as lean and propulsive as an Olympic sprinter. Drummer Ryan Naideau tops any of the guitar heroics: His cymbals crash across the mix on “Cathedral Echoes” like summer lightning, and he may have grown an extra arm for the breakneck “Radio.” After storming out the gate, the album shows its range with a handful of acoustic-driven mid-album mid-tempo efforts, but it’s their race to the finish that thrills.