Nude Beach - II (Cover Artwork)

Nude Beach

II (2012)

Other Music Recording Co.

Brooklyn's Nude Beach call themselves punks but the music they play isn't exactly that. It's scrappy garage rock 'n' roll by way of Tom Petty and Elvis Costello, played with the zeal of the Jam. Yeah, you've heard it before. But so what?

The album's best track, "Walkin' Down The Street," is a prime example of where it all goes right: Rollicking sway, sing-along chorus and perfectly derivative. The chorus, where singer/guitarist Chuck Betz pleads, "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," might help you picture how the music sounds better than any musical description. "Radio," essentially a pop-punk track, isn't about nostalgia for the medium but rather song selection bumming out Betz ("Well the radio's playing a sad song I don't wanna hear") They then ably saunter to a very English-sounding pub rock ballad, "You Make It So Easy."

While their debut record was lo-fi, the beefed up production for II is absolutely perfect for this kind of music: Punchy and crisp with crunchy tones ideal for rock and roll. The three-piece sounds loud and full, and Betz's nuanced guitar work, once buried in the mix, is finally front and center.

Points are lost for extreme lack of originality (I'm sure you can dive into Bruce Springsteen, Paul Westerberg and Petty's discographies and find the exact melody and chord progressions for all these songs somewhere) but played with such youthful energy and undeniable catchiness it's impossible to hate. If there are kegs flowing at NYC house shows these bands will always exist, and if they're this good, keep ‘em coming.