The Nude Party Dig Deep Into 70s Rock Influences on ‘Midnight Manor’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

The Nude Party’s strong 2018 debut found the sextet knocking loudly on the door. With Midnight Manor, they kick it off its hinges.

The 12-track record finds the upstate New York band (by way of North Carolina) digging deeper into their ‘70s rock influences – from the swagger of the Stones to the swamp funk of Leon Russell. And the result is undeniably an impressive overshadowing of that debut album. 

The one-two punch of the first couple of tracks, the piano pounding “Lonely Heather” followed by the whip-smart “Pardon Me, Satan,” leaves you almost gasping for air, trying to catch up, but the band hardly lets up for the next 40  minutes or so. The album ends with the deeply cynical and deeply funny “Nashville Record Co.,” one of the best songs to feature a kazoo since Supertramp’s “The Logical Song.”

The horn-heavy, piano-backed record sounds remarkably fresh in 2020 and is a stark reminder that not everyone with a 1970s-heavy record collection is using an AARP discount; sometimes all it takes is a group of twenty-somethings with great taste in music borrowing someone else’s nostalgia.    

Midnight Manor was recorded live to tape in less than a week and the immediacy of that process can be heard all over the record. It sacrifices slickness for rawness making for a more satisfying in-the-moment record. The band does slow it down from time to time on tracks like “Time Moves On” and “Things Fall Apart,” all decent enough songs, but The Nude Party is only firing on all cylinders when they are at their most raucous, like the opening track or “Thirsty Drinking Blues”.

Despite only having put out two LPs, The Nude Party been playing together for eight years and sharing a house for roughly the same amount of time, making for a cohesive unit. And that cohesiveness has led to a remarkably consistent record that usually takes bands decades to accomplish. 

Photo by Bryan Derballa

 

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