Personnel: Jason Powell (vocals, guitar, background vocals); Christopher Michael Scott (drums, background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Ben Coleman; Justin McNeight; Ed Rawls.
Portland's surfin' party punks Guantanamo Baywatch have learned a few tricks in the three years since they released their first album, and 2015's Darling... It's Too Late is in practically every respect an improvement on their well-meaning but not so thrilling debut, Chest Crawl. Guantanamo Baywatch have worked up a better set of songs this time out; "Jungle Bride," "Sea of Love," and "Beat Has Changed" outweigh anything on the group's debut, and guitarist Jason Powell has not only sharpened his six-string skills, he's come up with some snazzy instrumental numbers, and "Raunch Stomp" and "Shenanigans" should separate the cool cats from the ho-dads in no time flat. (Powell also cooks up a nice cover of Eddie & the Showmen's "Mr. Rebel" for the historically minded.) The production and engineering (courtesy of Ben Coleman, Justin McNeight, and Ed Rawls) are cleaner and tougher this time out, and bassist Chevelle Super Sport and drummer Christopher Michael Scott are a stronger, steadier rhythm section after a few years' practice. And while slightly bent surf music is still this band's stock in trade, the slinky R&B-influenced weeper "Too Late" (including a guest appearance by singer Curtis Harding) and the stomping dance number "Boy Like Me" show they're adding new levels to their game and making it work. At just 31 minutes, Darling... It's Too Late feels a bit like a party that broke up before it really got into fifth gear, but this album is a much better expression of Guantanamo Baywatch's potential than their first long-player, and anyone who wished GB's music was as good as their ideas on Chest Crawl gets the payoff on Darling... It's Too Late. ~ Mark Deming