The Nude Party – Midnight Manor

Upstate New York’s The Nude Party will freely admit they’ve been inspired mostly by the classic rock ‘n’ roll of the 1960s and ’70s. With hearty tips of the frosty beer bottle to such giants as The Rolling Stones, The Doors and Lou Reed, their first album was a delightful detour that acknowledged and celebrated the omnipresence of rock’s giants while steering clear of any paralyzing reverence that could potentially bog down their revelry. In short, their fandom was a launching point, not a rulebook. They studied it and learned from it but mapped out their own kickass little path.

With Midnight Manor, ’60s/’70s rock ‘n’ roll remains the familiar inspiration but the record collection has swelled. “Lonely Heather” inaugurates this particular bash with the rollicking, tipsy swagger of a Mott the Hoople set opener. “Shine Your Light” recalls the heydays of Rundgren and Supertramp lit up with flashes of E.L.O. “Thirsty Drinking Blues” sounds like something The Kinks might’ve tossed off in the early ’70s. Breakup ballad “Things Fall Apart” even treads upon A.M. Gold terrain.

But overall, the weight of The Rolling Stones remains pervasive. “Time Moves On” carries the feel of an early ’70s Let It Bleed/Sticky Fingers ballad. “Cities” sounds like Donovan guest starring on Their Satanic Majesty’s Request. “Pardon Me, Satan” continues that woozy Stones-dabbling-in-country-rock thing that provided many of The Nude Party’s debut album high points like “Chevrolet Van.” One of Midnight Manor’s standouts, “What’s the Deal?” almost plays like a counterpoint to “Van” with something of a Faces vibe.

Which is not to say The Nude Party don’t have their own style or personality. Honestly, they do, and it’s so casual and refreshing. They’re a smart, down-to-earth bunch of dudes, and they put a lot of themselves into these songs – not only the music but the lyrics, which are full of passion, humor, disappointment, hopefulness, heartbreak and authenticity. This band seems simultaneously from another time altogether, and timeless. Ultimately, I’m immensely thankful to have them among us in the here and now. As the surroundings grow ever dimmer, their light shines brightly.

The Nude Party
Midnight Manor
[New West]