Recently, I’ve read some rather depressing articles claiming the era of the guitar god is over. Young musicians aren’t buying axes, reports say, as they don’t need them. They can do it all on computers. Hence, we’re in the times when Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is in the ascendency. It’s almost poetic justice. Heavy metal fans have long dismissed any rock before Sabbath or Zeppelin. Now, they may also start seeing their presence in rock history in the rearview mirror as well.
So it was no small surprise for me to run across a new group called Beach Day. This trio of Hollywood, Florida twenty-something musicians not only employ old school instruments, every note of their debut album, Trip Trap Attack, shows deep fondness for the spirit and styles of very old rock indeed—that is, the pop AM singles of the early ’60s.
According to principal songwriter, lead singer, guitarist, and keyboardist Kimmy Drake, Beach Day came together when she met Natalie Smallish (bass) and Skyler Black (drums) at a gig where all three were in different bands. The three felt an instant chemistry and moved in together. Turned out, each of them loved the girl groups of the early ’60s and the surf melodies of groups like The Ventures. Throughout Trip Trap Attack, you can also hear the influence of the group’s most obvious spiritual mentor, Phil Spector.
This isn’t to say the new release, recorded in South Florida and mixed in Detroit by Jim Diamond (The White Stripes, The Dirtbombs), has Spector’s full-blown wall of sound in pop numbers like the infectious “Boys” and the piano-driven “Stay,” which Drake says came from a Supremes intro. However, Spectoresque arrangements, tempos, and radio-friendly melody lines are unmistakable, even if stripped down to the reverent work of only three players.
In many tracks, Drake’s love of The Ventures and California surf is clear as well, as in “Beach Day,” the trio’s first recorded song that was issued on a 7″ single. While the proceedings are mainly fun in the sun worries about young romance, Drake’s lyrics occasionally get deeper than you might expect. “Seventeen,” for example, is about a young girl who broke her mother’s dreams by prematurely leaving childhood behind.
In short, Trip Trap Attack is for those who love those classic sounds, whether or not you’re old enough to have heard them when they were new. Google for “Boys” on YouTube and if that doesn’t whet your appetite, well, you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling. Beach Day just might get grandma and the young’uns harmonizing together.
You can buy the new Beach Day release on Amazon.com and other fine outlets.