The Nude Party: The Nude Party

This feels like the band’s fifth album, not their first, and that’s an enormous compliment.

The Nude Party
The Nude Party
(New West)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Divisive politics got you down? Financial problems keeping you awake at night? Family issues stressing you out? This is the album for you.

The debut full-length from North Carolina’s The Nude Party quintet doesn’t waste time defining its sound. Opening track “Water On Mars” kicks off with spooky garage organ, a double shot of grinding guitars along with thumping drum and maracas pushing the beat as frontman Patton Magee sings, “My mind’s a spigot and I’m starting to dig it,” with a sly, wry vocal grin. Welcome to the non-stop party that’ll make you forget your frustrations, at least for 45 minutes. And what else would you expect from a group that derived its name from performing (early) gigs in their birthday suits? 

Play spot the influence at your party and names such as Dick Dale, the Sir Douglas Quintet, Link Wray, early Rolling Stones, the Animals, T. Rex and The Doors will likely be tossed out quickly. If that seems retro, well, it is. But The Nude Party isn’t trying to replicate any specific sound or era. Rather these guys, who have been honing their approach for six years, lock together and rock out with dry wit, killer hooks and enough energy to power a small city. They don’t take themselves too seriously — check out the video for recent single “Chevrolet Van” for proof — but these songs have earnest musical muscle behind them. Production by Black Lips’ drummer Oakley Munson helps with credibility and a recent opening stint for Arctic Monkeys shows The Nude Party isn’t playing around regardless of how spirited their approach is.   

Magee does his best Jagger snarl on the droll “Records,” where the protagonist retreats to the comfort of his vinyl after getting jilted by a girlfriend singing, “I don’t need your love/ I just need my records” in a chorus made to be sung loud and proud in any punk club. The psychedelic “Astral Man” adds Syd Barrett-era space-rocking Floyd to the mix, “War Is Coming” takes a ride courtesy of the 13th Floor Elevators and “Gringo Che” with its snarling guitar licks might as well be the lost B-side to Them’s “Gloria.” The closing instrumental “Charlie’s Sheep” rides out with a smidgen of shimmering reverbed Spaghetti Western heat. 

This feels like the band’s fifth album, not their first, and that’s an enormous compliment. They blow the roof off but do it with style and class, nodding to the past without slavishly imitating it. Invite some friends, hit play, turn it up and let The Nude Party take your mind off today’s difficulties by transporting you somewhere they don’t exist.