The Nude Party “Rides On”

New West Records, 2023

Possibly more rocky, psych-folk than americana, The Nude Party’s third album sounds as if it was recorded in a time gone by.

There’s a band called Big Daddy whose conceit is that they were abducted by aliens in 1959 and when they were returned to earth, they could only play new songs in the style they knew before they were abducted. So on their various albums you get ‘Hotel California’ a la Del Shannon, ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ in the style of Chuck Berry, ‘Born To Run’ as would have been sung by Paul Anka etc. etc. Well The Nude Party are the mirror opposite of Big Daddy – they sound as they’ve been abducted and taken back in time to the late sixties/early seventies and recorded their latest album ‘Rides On’ using studio equipment of that era.

Not the most prolific of bands, The Nude Party were formed in 2012 and before ‘Rides On’ had only released two complete albums ‘The Nude Party’ and ‘Midnight Manor’. The band consists of Patton Magee (lead vocals, guitar & harmonica), Alexander Castillo (bass & vocals), Austin Brose (percussion & vocals), Shaun Couture (guitar & vocals), Don Merrill (piano & vocals) and Connor Mikita (drums).

The album was recorded in a barn in upstate New York which the band had built themselves and then filled it with Tampa based engineer Matthew Horner’s recording equipment. The band then produced the album themselves with Horner having moved up to the Catskills, doing the engineering. This meant that they didn’t have to pay for studio time and the songs developed organically with each band member contributing. As Magee said about Horner: He’s the kind of guy that’s spent so much time just nerding out in his own little home studio down in South Florida that he just had a lot of really cool sonic ideas. We probably didn’t have like a top-down producer. It was just a batch of ideas and songs and just kind of like pushing them all around and playing with all of them until we had arrangements and then multi-tracking”. 

As for the album itself, it’s made up of thirteen songs that vary from the rocky, bluesy guitar led first song, ‘Word Gets Around’, through to ‘Hey Monet’  (presumably a pun) that has overtones of the Sir Douglas Quintet, onto ‘Ride On’ with its pounding drums and ‘yeah yeah’ harmonies. There’s even a cover of Dr John’s ‘Somebody Tryin’ To Hoodoo Me’ before the album finishes literally with a bang at the end of the closing song ‘Red Rocket Ride’ which starts with a mournful harmonica before becoming a big production number with everything but the kitchen sink being thrown in.

The album is full of period features such as what sounds like a Farfisa organ, handclaps, and vocals drenched in reverb all echoing the 60s and 70s. Occasionally Magee’s vocals have echoes of Mick Jagger’s drawl circa 1970 especially on ‘Tell ‘Em’.

The Nude Party are an interesting band with a unique sound and in ‘Rides On’ they’ve produced an album that might not be americana – that’s up to the listener to decide – but whatever they’re labelled, it’s well worth a listen.

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