Guantanamo Baywatch, “Darling… It’s Too Late”
Darling… It’s Too Late
The name is horrendous and unforgivable, but it’s possible to look past the moniker a little bit when listening to the Portland, Oregon, band’s sophomore record. Yes, it is hipper-than-thou faux surf rock that’s more style over substance, but it can also be, in places, pretty damn good. “Corey Baum’s Theme,” for instance, is a moody, dusty, ’60s-style instrumental that could soundtrack the best (or worst) Quentin Tarantino montage, while the romantic, nostalgic lilt of “Too Late” is gorgeous in its rough-around-the-edges melancholy. Still, there are too many dispensable instrumentals—“Raunch Stomp,” “Mr. Rebel,” and “Shenanigans,” to name three—and surf-rock-by-numbers tunes that rely on the cliché of rock and roll past to make this album anything more than a whimsical novelty tribute album to times gone by. That’s fine, of course, but in the end—very much unlike the classics it riffs off—it makes Guantanamo Baywatch and these ten short, hip-swinging, greased-back songs just a bit forgettable.