ALBUM: Native Echoes
ARTIST: Beach Day
Despite an onslaught of 60s throwback, Native Echoes is insistent about avoiding the love song. Instead of the saccharine or embittered tropes of romance, Beach Day hones in on friends—the long-lost, romanticized, irritants of simpler times. If front woman Kimmy Drake hadn’t told you to your face before the sophomore LP release, chances are there’s a shout out with(out) your name on it herein. While there’s not a flattering portrayal in the bunch, it seems pertinent to mention that the nondescript stereotyped second and third persons of these songs are the same stick people that went to the suburban school district adjacent to yours, meaning the bull’s eye coextends from Hollywood to Hollywood Beach.
As native Floridians, Beach Day embraces its environs through the self-aware insertions of ocean sounds (waves recorded on BD’s local Hollywood Beach) and surf guitar (a somber homage to The Sandals). Native Echoes also spends a fair amount of time in the garage too, blending faux-callous noise rock with the conventions of Motown girl groups. Whereas contemporaries Dum Dum Girls have the expertise of Richard Gottehrer (co-writer of “My Boyfriend’s Back”) to refine its aesthetic, Beach Day’s collaboration with Jim Diamond, at times, feels like a three-legged race. While the album coheres through its lyrical themes, it disintegrates on more than one occasion due to the purely imitative 60s sonics—ambient organs, harmonic oohs, and a tumble of toms. Too beholden by its influences, Beach Day allows Native Echoes to repeat the pitfalls of 2013’s Trip Trap Attack.
There are a few moment of transcendence, though, as with album-opening single “All My Friends Were Punks.” Here, Kimmy Drake’s narration seamlessly integrates a second-person listener into memories of her own punk friends, a conflation as good as coherence. On “BFF’s,” the modern notion of un-friending a BFF is retroactively applied to hysterically passé girlhood activities (“don’t want to braid your hair”). The lyrical anomalies of these two high points interact with the minimalist composition while songs like “I’m Just Messin’ Around” and “Pretty” are over before they began. The brashness (“I’m just messin’ around and I like it”) and flippancy (“Who cares about being pretty?”) of these respective tracks fails to evoke a psychology that is commensurate with contemporary experience. Again, Beach Day traffics in the passé, but this time, passé is blasé. Regardless of these missteps, Native Echoes is still an apt addition to Kanine Records’ catalogue, which boasts LPs from likesounded Beverly and Surferblood.
“All my friends were punks / and we were stealing / oh the way, the way, the way / we were feeling / Ooo do you remember?”