Brooklyn trio Nude Beach masters the art of the quintessential, classic pop-rock song on their newest release II. The album, which barely clocks in at thirty-one minutes, is compact, catchy and radio-ready–but that’s about it.
Even the opening track’s title pays homage to the band’s penchant for the traditional three-minute pop song: the bright guitars and repeated melodies of “Radio” make it the perfect song for that medium.
Much of the album is just like “Radio,” full of poppy hooks, simple tunes and an energy that’s always upbeat pulsing through big choruses. While the band has this type of song down to a science, tracks like “Some Kinda Love” and “Love Can’t Wait” tend to blend together, passing by without leaving an impression. While they’re ready for the radio, they’re also a little too easy to digest.
The best moments on II come when Nude Beach delves into a pub rock/New Wave style reminiscent of Elvis Costello and 1970’s punk, breaking away from the trebly guitars and standard beats. “Walkin Down My Street,” with its warm guitar tones and languid feel, is a breath of fresh air, as are “Keep It Cool” and the melancholy, retro ballad “Don’t Have to Try.”
It seems, though, that the point of II is as straightforward as its music–Nude Beach makes songs that are unpretentious and easygoing, the kind of songs you’d want to hear in your neighborhood bar while having drinks with friends, and there’s nothing wrong with that.