Review Summary: Back to those better days..
Nude Beach has a sound that seems like it would've dominated the rock radio stations of 1986. Hell, it sounds like it should be dominating the rock radio stations of right now. Not because it sounds typical of todays' radio rock, but because the band crafts some seriously melodic and accessible rock n roll tunes while avoiding all the annoying cliches of bands like Nickelback and Theory of a Deadman.
The songs are made up of some pleasantly strummed chords (usually clean but sometimes with a hint of distortion and punk edge), driving and resonant basslines accompanied by galloping percussion, as well as an emotive vocalist who hits an array of memorable melodies throughout this album. Dynamics are not lost on this singer either, as he frequently fluctuates between a loud punk-style shout delivery (not screaming) and a quieter delivery which sometimes hits a whisper. The track 'Some Kinda Love' is a good example of this. Subtle keyboard licks can be found dancing in the background of some of these tracks as well, adding another dimension to the sound.
When it comes down to it, what Nude Beach does best is create easy-to-digest songs with a revivalist flavor. The band is very in sync with one another and each member sounds fantastic. The production is delightful and allows each instrument to shine through on every song. The sound of the guitar chords on "Keep It Cool" puts a smile on my face. The warmth of the bass on "You Make It So Easy". The overall amazingness of "Love Can't Wait", complete with guitar solo.
Where this album suffers is mostly in its lack of variation. Most of the songs are aiming for the same mood and aural aesthetic, with the exceptions being punk song "Cathedral Echoes", which rocks a little bit harder/faster than all the others, and then "Don't Have To Try", which is essentially the ballad of the album, and a mostly successful one.
Overall, 'II' is a success for this Pennsylvania rock band. The sheer, undeniable cohesiveness is what really makes it work. The songs are catchy and absurdly well-crafted. It won't be the most sprawling, epic or progressive rock record you listen to this year, but it might just bring you back to those better days.