Friday, January 16, 2009

Beach Patrol from Wisconsin? They Really Do Ride Dinosaurs!

Beach Patrol

Riding Dinosaurs
Duck on Monkey Records-CD
Wild Honey Records-Vinyl

It's Winter. Beach Patrol? And they're from Wisconsin? Sure, why not? Sure. The land of cheese, football, and brutal code spawned The Violent Femmes, so why not? Riding Dinosaurs has songs like "One More Cigarette", a bittersweet goodbye in the tradition of farther south, chorus laden rockster Tom Petty, complete with a Farfisa that's sure to conjure up Damn the Torpedoes. Other hints of flashbacks to '80s powerpop itself conjure up California since everyone was obsessed with OP surfer clothes and music that had a hook with a hard edge. "Love Away" has a straight line to Pat Benatar's earlier work like "Hell is For Children" with it's power chord riffs and dark tone. To be succinct, Beach Patrol has definitely combed the sand and picked up every little trinket and nugget from bands like Cheap Trick, Elvis Costello, The Nerves and many other memorable power chord heroes.

"On the Road" is about as straight forward, power rock as you can get with some jangly hints and strong vocals from lead Domenic Marcantonio that wink at the song power of fellow Wisconsonites The Bodeans, only not studio manipulated. Other tracks like "A Friend Like You" are a little more riffy and have some nice vocal harmonies, while "This side of 25" has a power and beat that's practically vintage London Calling, but it's also a compliment in parallel time to it since it's expresses strength in somehow making it over 25 years old and like The Clash, had approached that period where they were still a young band but had enough experience under their belt that they sang and played with a certain amount of power and experience to back their music up. Who sings in non-sequitors? Beach Patrol pulls it off on the punky, drummer Preston Ely penned "Preston The Human" with "Shoes, spine, tacos, rhyme, banana chips, car keys, ottomans, late fees!" Nothing relates, but maybe it's a good illustration of the human condition.

As much as we all want to support our indie record stores, Domenic takes the opposite end of Rob Gordon in High Fidelity when he sings "I'm closing up the shop tonight at four...and I ain't going back no more, shitty record store", which holds a closer ideal to a store in the '90s that's too involved in internal politics to be a good store anyway. Other tracks reveal a deeper talent like the blues and psychedelia of "The Lonely One," which stands out as heavier and revealing of a strength in songwriting from Marcantonio that very few can share. In a way, the album title Riding Dinosaurs is perfect for Beach Patrol because they take the ancient and often forgotten but influential history of '80s musc and make it move again according to their wishes.

Riding Dinosaurs is available on CD from Duck on Monkey Records, vinyl from Wild Honey Records, and Beach Patrol also has a full list of retail outlets in their region who sell the release.

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