It would appear that Miami’s Jacuzzi Boys have blossomed into full-fledged Jacuzzi Men, and the timing could not be better. With more garage rock bands than ever clogging festival lineups and blog bandwidths, it takes a serious statement to transcend the clanging masses banging away on pawn shop guitars and caterwauling through dense walls of reverb. With the band’s eponymous 3rd LP, Jacuzzi Boys succeed beyond all expectations.
The album is an expertly cultivated collection of earworms that further sheds the group’s Ramones worship, instead focusing on hooky anthems that present the band’s kitsch as an accessory, rather than a focal point. Things kicks off with “Be My Prism”, the song’s rainbow references lyrically recalling “Fruits” off of No Seasons, but it immediately boasts a cleaner, ballsier production than any of the band’s prior releases. The fading haze of low fidelity gives way to a clearer view of the band’s songs, though things are still captured with a very vintage flare.
The album hits its stride with “Double Vision”, a picture perfect pop rock track just nuanced enough to be interesting in spite of its simplicity. Fuzzy guitars masquerading as synths punctuate the song’s reliable three-chord groove like unexpected visitors crashing a party and leaving over the course of a night. Wrinkles like this make the song a textbook example of how something can sound familiar and fresh at once.
The tracks that follow “Double Vision” are some of the strongest of the Jacuzzi Boys’ entire career. “Dust”, a romantic and breezy mid-tempo number, plays perfectly to Gabriel Alcala’s reckless falsettos, the audio equivalent of summer fading to fall. However, just when the album starts to wrap itself too snugly in newfound maturity, “Rubble” cracks open a beer, kisses your girl, and dominates with the dense, glammed-out proto-punk energy that has become the Jacuzzi Boys’ calling card.
The rest of the album plays out like a dynamic ride through the refined peaks of the Jacuzzi Boys’ stylistic oeuvre. There are moments of psych rock ecstasy (“Hotline”) and lazy grooves that float like a gator corpse through a Miami swamp (“Heavy Horse”). Together, these varied takes give prove that this is a band that has grown into its britches as songwriters without forsaking its personality.
Essential Tracks: “Dust”, “Rubble”, and “Double Vision”