The songs on their second release, appropriately titled II, run the gamut from straight ahead pop jams to lyrical, anthemic bursts of fist-pumping rock; ripping guitar leads intact. Case in point: mid-album track "Love Can't Wait," a lovely bit of earnest, yearning rock n' roll, perfected by the likes of Springsteen and Co., has you obediently bopping along until a Mascis sized guitar solo comes in to steal the show. The guitar work on this record deserves special praise for accomplishing a feat many an axeman struggles with, combining proficiency with melody and purpose. Each guitar figure is carefully constructed to serve the song it's anchoring, not a note wasted.
Guitar geek-outs aside, the album is a no-frills excursion into the back catalogue of rock n' roll as we know and love it. Influences such as the aforementioned Springsteen, The Replacements, and The Attractions are payed unabashed tribute. "Walkin' Down My Street" sounds like a long forgotten b-side from Costello's first record, while the whole affair is slathered in the slop-pop aesthetics of The 'Mats. This is not to detract from Nude Beach's songs in the slightest; these are the types of loving homages that make you smile rather than cringe. Bottom line: this is some of the most fun you'll have listening to guitar pop this upcoming season. While the group may keep a low profile, their only internet presence being a Bandcamp and bare-bones Angelfire site, I have a feeling it's only a matter of time until that luxury escapes Nude Beach. Here's to 'em. Raise your glasses.
II is out now via the band's own Nude Beach Records. They're currently doing a full album stream and a "pay-what-you-wish" type of deal over at their Bandcamp, so get it while it's hot.