In a rock band, you’re presented with two choices: strive to push the genre forward into newfangled territory, or look back and do your damnedest to put a unique stamp on the past. In the case of Brooklyn-based outfit Nude Beach, they’ve definitely embraced the latter.
On II, the trio are retro-minded to the extreme, embracing a decades-old blue-collar rock aesthetic that mines the back catalogues of acts like the Replacements, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. The result is very American, and steeped in the working man’s rock that was birthed on the eastern seaboard Nude Beach call home.
But while the band hardly brings anything new to the table, it can pen a killer tune or two. Crunchy rapid-fire leadoff “Radio,” and punked-out “Cathedral Echoes” prove the band knows how to bring the hooks, while “Some Kinda Love” is one hell of a heart-racing booze rock anthem. There’s also a definite romantic streak that runs through the record, as seen on tracks like the lovelorn “Keep it Cool” and “The Endless Night,” which, suspiciously enough, has Nude Beach sounding a lot like The Walkmen.
II definitely has its moments but, overall, you can’t help getting an overwhelming feeling of “been there, done that,” and that’s hardly a good thing.