by Patrick Pilch (@pratprilch)
It’s been over a year since Nude Model’s debut, and we’re long overdue for an ex post facto review. The unapologetically recusant pitch of Crying Games is wild and grinding, punk music stripped down to its own visceral foundation. Cathartic melodic breaks splice a jagged no wave approach as Nude Model lace caustic off-kilter hooks with a skewed accessibility.
The band’s first proper full-length is a welcome longform expansion to the accurately titled Double A-Side. The sides are split on Crying Games, cemented by the bright pop flare of “Harassment,” the searing new wave slant of “Do Me” and desolate post-punk of “Weapon.” Michael Guarrine’s fiery vocal performance on “Darts” ignites the record in feverish fashion, as raving wails match the marked urgency of the track’s wiry guitar line and skittering percussion. Later, “Portrait of an Animal” treads on sparked, palm-muted guitars before docking onto the chorus’ ripper of a bassline. Its four notes yield tension and space, a break in Nude Model’s chaotic cloud of fury and dissonance.
Crying Games finds its home on Don’t Panic Records, a non-profit label with a catalog stationed at punk junction. From the crushing hardcore of UGLYBONES to surf metal fusionists Cheap Dates, Nude Model’s latest embodies their label’s eclecticism, each song bounding from one influence to the next. There’s wisps of B-52s’ nutty punk antics, Wipers’ jaw-clenched hooks behind “Do Me” and a hint of Atrocity Exhibition’s dismal sprawl on “Dawn Trains.” Crying Games assembles as a diverse body of work, refusing to slip into any sort of variation on a theme. Each track is a well executed testament to Nude Model’s punk know-how, a surefire indicator of a band’s promising future.