Something about the combination of catchy songwriting and a band’s willingness to not take themselves completely serious is objectively cool. Guantanamo Baywatch flaunt both these things, and lucky for us, the Portland, Oregon trio are bringing their particularly raunchy breed of surf-rock to The Knockout in San Francisco on March 11, and their new LP, Darling…It’s Too Late is due May 12.
Listening through their previous releases, it’s pretty clear that Guantanamo Baywatch have done their homework. Imagine all the tricks of the early garage rock trade – fast, twangy solos; reverbed-out guitar with vocals to match; some serious tenacity. Guantanamo Baywatch exhibit all these things, but with a little extra oomph. I’ll be damned if you can find a song of theirs that isn’t drenched in nostalgia, or at least reverb or tremolo. Yes, the Bay Area music scene and music in general has seen no shortage of surf and garage rock in the last five or so years, but what’s exciting about this band is how they so consistently leave their fingerprint on the older sounds they draw from. Their songs sound like caricatures of the ‘oldies’ they’re in conversation with, straddling the line between indulgent and playful, in a good way.
Take Too Late, featuring Chris Harding. It’s the first single off their new album, and although it’s slower and carries a little more emotional weight than some of their older material, it has similar full-throttle spirit. The whole song feels like a big sad and somehow triumphant chorus, a pulpy take on the classic Motown waltzes. Scope out the single below.