Thursday, August 21, 2014

Beach Day Never Ends, It Echoes

Beach Day
While summer is almost a wrap for most people, Beach Day is just getting started. Their newest album, Native Echoes, doubles down on the ins, outs, and influences of girl bands in the sixties.

As a band that is more about the attitude than the genre, expect some heady attention to the detail. Sure, they were much more about fun than form when the band debuted last year. But this time out, Kimmy Drake (guitars, vocals) and Skyler Black (drums) are in a different place. This is much more than the recasting of The Black Rabbits. It's Beach Day.

Native Echoes is bottled up fun. Uncork it whenever.

Mostly, the Florida-based trio sounds re-energized. After a year of touring and stepping inside the studio with Jim Diamond (Sonics, Dirtbombs, The White Stripes), Beach Day was ready to reach beyond the confines of nostalgia and knock out ten revisionist tracks that fire up this decade too.

Even with the absence of former bassist Natalie Smallish, who left the band after the release concert of their debut, Beach Day has never sounded better. In some ways, it solidified the commitment of Drake and Black to play on and go out. It creeps in often on Native Echoes as passionate desperation.

Where you won't hear it is on Don't Call Me On The Pone. The video, which premiered in July, eases into the album much like their album last year with a lyrical twist that chastises a likely boyfriend for being predictable at best and boring at worst.

While Don't Call Me On The Phone is pretty standard fare for the band, most of the other tracks showcase something more. This is an album about friendships — those lost, found, and bruised beyond repair.

All My Friends Were Punks takes on the theme in the broadest sense, with Drake taking on a dense and reminiscent bent with her vocals and on the guitar. Think of it as a toast to those lost teenage years. She does the punk scene proud, despite the overindulgent hand claps.

Where the album truly picks up is later on in the track listings. After the lackadaisical BFFs track, Beach Day gets down to business with I'm Just Messin' Around. The tempo change couldn't come soon enough, even if it plays to pedestrian sensibilities. It's about driving around and doing stuff.

The bottom half of the album is even better. Pretty picks up the thumps better than I'm Just Messin' Around. It sounds like it should be played loud in a cruising convertible despite never mentioning words like car or ride or anything else. One might even be inspired to stand up and put their arms out (seat belt laws not withstanding).

All their swirling buzz numbers follow. The Lucky One, Fades Away, and Lost Girl are the best tracks on the album. Collectively, these three dial down the notion that Beach Day is only about the fun. Drake and Black can be contemplative too, even if they seldom get specific about it.

Sure, some people are going to focus on the fact that Beach Day still doesn't push themselves enough. Maybe. But there are some subtleties on the album to appreciate, like running a 12-string guitar through an Allen Gyrophonic speaker to make it sound like a synth. Does it matter? Yes and no but mostly yes.

Native Echoes By Beach Day Blows Out 7.4 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

Native Echoes is another stepping stone for the duo that tours with a guest bassist. So give the band a little more time as it matures into something even better. And in the meantime? Run through the track list and dig into their standouts. There are several, especially on the back half.

You can pick up Native Echoes by Beach Day from Amazon. The album is also available for download from iTunes and Barnes & Noble carries the vinyl edition of Native Echoes. For something more, especially tour information, visit them on Facebook.
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