US garage surf-rock trio Guantanamo Baywatch are vintage chaos incarnate. For their new album Darling… It’s Too Late, the trio explore multiple genres ranging from surf-rock, country and even soul. The album is a fun collection of tracks that are intricate, cheeky and entertaining. Their playful sound makes this album a tantalising and complex array of ideas that play with humour, musical genius and throwbacks.
Raunch Stomp is the best track on the album as it plays with a reverberated guitar in a surf rock style. This track is successful because it tells a story and transforms through different tempos and melodic ideas. There is so much variety in this track but it is unified by the instrumentation and overall feel. Corey Baum’s Theme is another great instrumental track that plays with a funky call and response and resonates with the sound of a western cowboy. These instrumental tracks are where the trio showcases their real talent. The tunes are multi-layered, dense and filled with interest.
Jungle Bride plays with a tropical sound and rather humorously risky lyrics that I would say border on racism (see jungle fever on urban dictionary). Sea of Love plays with a vintage and repetitive 1950s sound that is wildly entertaining and a cheeky cliche. Too Late takes on a more soulful sound with deep backup vocals and a slower tempo. The trio also cover Mr. Rebel by Eddie & the Showmen which is another great addition as we see them tackle a classic.
Overall, the trio soars when it comes to instrumental surf-rock pieces. Each song plays with a different theme or idea and nothing really feels repetitive or bland. While this is a fun album, I think it lacks some of the heart so quintessential to this style of music and there are no real soulful tracks to balance out the garage rock. In saying that this album succeeds as a funky collection of groovy songs that would be perfect for a good time. With their rough style, Guantanamo Bay plays with an aesthetic that is rather forgotten in the modern day. Darling… It’s Too Late would be a great listen for anyone new to this vintage genre.