Sonic Space: Beach Day

By Maya Poddar, The Dartmouth Staff | 9/29/14 10:05am

The number of adjective phrases I could use to describe Beach Day and their sophomore album “Native Echoes” is a little ridiculous. They’re sweetened punk-infused ’60s garage surf rock for a start, and their infectious sound is perfect for anyone who likes their beach days to end in huge, salty hair and late night burger runs. On the flipside, the album, while easy listening, can tend toward being a little too easy to forget.

Hailing from Hollywood, Florida, the trio consists of Kimmy Drake (guitars and vocals), Natalie Smallish (bass and vocals) and Skyler Black (drums). The group met at a show and bonded over their mutual love for ’60s girl groups (this is how every band should start). After the band released their debut album “Trip Trap Attack” last year, the great Jim Diamond – who worked with the Sonics, the White Stripes and the Dirtbombs – produced “Native Echoes,” giving it a more cohesive feel than the band’s first foray.

First the good stuff: “Native Echoes” is perfect for when you want to feel cooler and more romantically melancholy than you are. The first track “All My Friends Were Punks” invokes nostalgia for a phase that I never actually went through. It makes me wish I had an old denim jacket covered in patches hanging up in the closet that I could occasionally reminisce about (note: I was never cool enough to put patches on jackets, or anything else really).

“Don’t Call Me On The Phone” has a fun, snarky, girl-group edge and fun, if somewhat repetitive, lyrics. It’s an A+ choice for a post-break up karaoke session.

“Gnarly Waves,” a short instrumental interlude, might be my favorite track on the album. The use of wave sounds layered underneath a twang-y melody is at once soothing and haunting, perfect for late night walks around Occom Pond.

Now for the not-super-great part: the album, on the whole, is a little trite. It doo-wops between various fuzzed-out iterations of ’60s staples and modern lady-led alt rockers. The album has definite potential but can easily get lost among other similar (and earlier) works. While Drake has an interesting and beautiful voice, as exemplified in the melancholy “Lost Girl,” she doesn’t utilize it in particularly innovative ways.

A large chunk of the songs fit into the mold currently preferred by advertising executives all over the country. If albums had taglines (which they totally should), “Natives Echoes” would be “coming soon to a commercial near you."

Ultimately, “Native Echoes” is fun but forgettable. Some tracks are definitely worth keeping around and if you ever need to put on an album and not think about it for a while, “Native Echoes” has got your back. But if you want super deep lyrics and an unforgettable album experience, look elsewhere.

So put it on while you study or as background noise for the pre-party outfit scramble, and it’ll all be fine.

Maya Poddar, The Dartmouth Staff