The Nuclears fall into a strange realm for me as they can write songs that grab me in a big way while at other times I am left wondering how the production zapped everything out of a song. Their mini-album from 2019 ‘Barrage Rock’ was much the same way with me playing the crap out of the song ‘Lightspeed Getaway’ and unable to say much about the rest of the album. As an album, ‘Seasides’ is ultimately proving to be a very similar experience for me.
Lead song ‘Siamese Connection’ provides a bit of a microcosm of the record for me as I don’t find myself drawn in by the rock n roll guitar riffs or lyrics for the most part. The guitar solo saves it for me though, and I enjoy the remaining bit of the song even if the chorus doesn’t move me. I enjoy the piano bouncing through the song as well. ‘Steer You Wrong’ is one of the songs that will be a long-term golden nugget here for me with Briana Layon providing lead vocals to this one. Musically, I am reminded of Shanda & the Howlers with their rocking take on soul and R & B. The band then launches into ‘Make the First Move’ which just doesn’t connect with me at all. The song just kind of fades by for me, and each time I play the album I find my mind drifting. The production here feels a bit dull as I think this song would hit me much different in a live setting. On the record, this one is missing its fangs.
Up next, the band find themselves playing ‘Small Talk’ and again I don’t find myself connecting with what seems like a good song. This is another example where the production has neutered the song as this could fare much better for me. I will likely try to work this one into some playlists, but it could have been so much better. ‘Mystery Slinger’ wraps up the first half of the album and carries a lot more bite in the production. If the whole album had this sense of urgency and excitement, this review would be much different. I do admit I am a bigger fan of Layon’s vocals and wish she sang lead on all the songs. That is not specific to this album as I have always been more drawn by her vocals than the vocals of both Mike Dudolevitch and Brian Dudolevitch.
The second half of the album continues the preferred production with ‘Bow to the Queen,’ even if it is not my favorite song here. The guitar work by Mike and Brian is extremely well done all the way through. I really enjoy the riff that moves across the top of the verse. ‘I Just Wanna Have Nothin to Do’ recalls a catchy 60’s rock song and is another of my favorites from the album. The band sound like they are having a blast here. The repeat on the chorus to end the song almost runs the risk of going on too long. The band keep some momentum going with ‘Doin the Same Thing Too’ carrying a sense of urgency and maintaining the listener’s attention. This one falls in the middle half of the album for me, and it leaves me wondering with each listen how good this could have been as an EP.
Wrapping up the album, I find myself constantly drifting off again as ‘Slash Run’ just doesn’t hit like it could. This is a prime example where the band needed a rawer, cutting production. It just feels a bit safe to my ears. The band transition in the song to an amended version of KISS classic ‘Strutter,’ which just feels pointless to me. I have heard the original a million times, and, no matter how well done it is, I just don’t get it being on the album. The production level here though would have lifted some of the other songs. Wrapping up the album is rocker ‘Flat & Nasty’ which again falls short largely due to the production. There is a really good song here which just reinforces how frustrating this album is for me.
Musically, the connection to Rum Bar Records lets listeners know that there will be some classic sounding rock n roll on offer. This album falls short for my tastes in that parts of it feel too safe, like the switchblades have been dulled down to round edges for the most part. I have no doubt that I would feel much differently if I walked into a bar and heard these live. There are some great moments here which I will sadly end up cherry picking from the record for the most part as opposed to enjoying the whole record.
‘Seasides’ is out now. Buy Here
Author: Gerald Stansbury