The Tyde Twice

[Rough Trade; 2003]

Styles: indie surf rock, beach boogie
Others: Beach Boys, Felt, Flying Burrito Brothers

The Tyde is something of an indie pop supergroup, featuring members of Beachwood Sparks (Brent Rademaker on bass) and Velvet Crush (Rick Menck on drums). On Twice, the band's (surprise!) second album, they thankfully eschew Beachwood Sparks’ heavily derivative mix of country rock and psychedelia for a breezy, west-coast sound played at a brisk enough pace to hold most listeners’ interest for a few spins.

For me, Twice rates a 4, but I’ve given it 3 because it’s the kind of album I love, and all my friends find pleasant but bland. It’s true that there are few surprises from the sun-drenched guitars and simple, direct, passionate drumming, but Ann Do’s keyboards do add unexpected textures to several songs (as well as a nauseatingly cheesy synth riff that almost sucks the life out of “Memorable Moments”). Darren Rademaker’s vocals are not particularly strong, even in an oddball way, but their earnestness delivering lines like “If you want to know what it feels like to be a man / Try spending 25 years in a band” carries them through most of the album successfully.

The heartfelt “Blood Brothers” and gripping “Henry VIII” are the album’s peaks, with choruses that will stay with you for days after the first listen (whether they’re welcome to or not). The former is about the fatigue of touring and band life in general, while the latter is a deceptively bright-sounding tune whose narrator is being held back by drug use. In fact, the widespread chirpy melodies mask an album whose lyrical concerns are drugs, aging, deceit, and romantic strife. These themes are approached, like the music itself, with only moderate substance, which will please most people, well, moderately. And for those whose drug of choice is catchy hooks, Twice will be a more substantial pleasure.

1. A Loner
2. Henry VIII
3. Go Ask Yer Dad
4. Best Intentions
5. Crystal Canyons
6. Takes a Lot of Tryin'
7. Memorable Moments
8. Blood Brothers
9. Shortboard City
10. Breaking Up the Band
11. New D