On the surface, Rides On sounds like an homage to early americana and rock and roll, but that only hides how deceptively original the songwriting is.
Take a track like the penultimate ‘Sold out of Love,’ which surprised me almost immediately when the beat drops in around 20 seconds in with just how groovy the track was. No other songs on the album sound like it, with its larger than life chorus, and a head bobbing triplet beat.
Throughout, the band borrow from the past while imbuing it with a modern spin. ‘Ride On’ takes the classic lyrical trope of a series of character vignettes but adds a new twist by including the narrator, lead singer Patton Magee, as the last character who completes the trio of connected stories.
Magee’s lyrics aren’t just clever in subverting a classic rock and roll fan’s expectations, but also contain a certain slickness that blends perfectly with the accompanying music too. Phrases like ‘Nearly ninety-five / Working nine to five’ on ‘Ride On’ slips right off the tongue, meanwhile ‘Cause if you act something you ain’t people will see right through you’ from ‘Tell Em’ is a perfect example of the charmingly straightforward truisms that are found throughout.
What’s most impressive about the album is the sheer variety within while still conveying a very strong sonic identity. Songs like the understated ballad ‘Midnight on Lafayette Park’ and the immediately following singalong romp ‘Hey Monet’ are totally different in key areas like tempo, lyrical themes, but The Nude Party craft them to both exist in harmony on the album.
Plenty of bands can craft interesting sounds, but struggle to mix up that sound enough to stay interesting. Rides On is great at striking a balance between having a consistent sound and never letting that sound get too repetitive.
This is best exemplified by the album’s closing trio: ‘Stately Prison Cell,’ ‘Sold out of Love,’ and ‘Red Rocket Ride.’ Each track brings a totally different sound and energy than the next, but they flow into each other in a natural way. The three songs act as a perfect winding down of an album that is almost all hootin’ and hollerin’ otherwise.
There is obviously a lot of nostalgia for classic rock throughout this album, but there is so much more here too. Capturing such a wide range of influences, from country, to blues, and rock and roll, and unifying them in a recognisable way, The Nude Party have pulled off quite the feat.
Sounding like it’s old
Played like it’s new and untold
Pick up or stream the album here.