Beach Patrol
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Beach Patrol

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The best kept secret in music


"Beach Patrol Review"

Beach Patrol
It's Only Greener 'Til You Get There CD
(Duck On Monkey Records)


If, like me, you've been known to blow out your birthday candles and wish there were more bands like The Figgs, then Beach Patrol is the group for you. I mean this in a totally good way - Beach Patrol is anything but a lame carbon copy knockoff. Primary songwriter Nick Marcantonio has quickly established himself as a rising star of the underground pop world. His influences are conspicuous (Elvis Costello, The Beatles, and, duh, The Figgs), but his talents are abundant. And if his singing voice is a near dead ringer for Mike Gent's, that's hardly his fault!

In an age when lots of bands have a "sound" but very few have songs, Beach Patrol's debut album really stands out. The group's mix of melodic pop and rootsy bar-band rock n' roll would be palatable even if its material were strictly run of the mill. But thankfully, this Milwaukee/Green Bay trio has given us far more than a passable first record. It's delivered a full batch of well-crafted, highly engaging, and enormously catchy pop songs. I know this is blasphemy, but The Figgs haven't made an album this good in six years!

A good sign: when I first popped in this CD, I heard "Starcrossed Girl" and knew right away that I was really going to like Beach Patrol. And that's probably the weakest song on the album! The best are "Trouble Trouble" (a fantastic Costello/Graham Parker inspired number) and the hard-rocking "Amelia" (perhaps the most morbidly catchy pop song since Husker Du's Diane - sing along at your own risk!). Also great are "Tease" (the one obvious "Figgs meet Elvis Costello" cooker), the Jeff VanDreel-penned "Mary" (a high-spirited pub sing-along), "Sunny Day Flower Grave II" (vaguely dark jangle-pop in the vein of the Barracudas), and "Already Mine" (high energy powerpop not unlike Superstar Car Wash era Goo Goo Dolls). Honestly, there isn't a single bad song to be heard here!

What's most impressive about Beach Patrol is that such a young band could show such a refined sense of pop craftsmanship. Any ordinary group can hit the target when it comes to a general style, but the exceptional bands know how to nail down the small details. Beach Patrol demonstrates a command of the "little things" that make good pop good. Note the playful guitar riff at the beginning of "Mary", or the memorable bass line rolling through "Trampoline", or the way Marcantonio ups the gusto of his singing at the climactic points of "Trouble Trouble". None of those songs would be quite the same without those particular touches. And it's exactly that advanced songwriting prowess that allows Beach Patrol to avoid the "every song sounds the same" fate that curses far too many powerpop bands. Listening to this first release from three guys who are only a few years removed from high school, I could easily mistake it for a veteran band's best-of package!

---Lord Rutledge
August 25, 2006 - Now Wave Magazine, Philadelphia PA

"Beach Patrol Review"

It's Only Greener Til You Get There: CD
Well, there's certainly nothin' wrong with getting a big box of records shipped to ya from the West Coast, and havin' the best of the bunch (by far) being the one knocked out by the local dudes! I mean, Green Bay has always been a city that digs good power-pop/pop-rock type stuff, it's just that the bands from around here have never really figured out how to actually play the shit. Enter Beach Patrol! Recording at some studio I never even heard of, and using such fonts as Marker Felt and Marker Felt Thin, these guys have successfully positioned themselves as a sort of backwoods Figgs, successfully channeling a fully functional, if often utilitarian, highly amplified fourth Monkees album thing, if you know what I mean, and I'm fairly certain you don't (I mean, listen to the first song, 'Starcrossed Girl' Come on, that's the fourth Monkees album right there! It even kinda looks like the song 'Star Collector, doesn't it? Doesn't it? Admit I'm right and i'll stop right now!). Heck, 'Come Runnin' sounds like something Titletown's own Fun w/Atoms would've played at one AM on a Saturday night in like 1984, these guys probably weren't even born then, and album closer, 'Top Down,' is so good that you'll forgive the fact that it's not the Teenage Head song of the same name. What's it all mean? I dunno. There must be something in the water. OOPS, WRONG BAND! BEST SONG: 'Top Down' BEST SONG TITLE: 'Trampoline,' because it sort of sounds like 'Carousel' by the Hollies, but going the other way.
--Rev. Norb - Razorcake Magazine- Los Angeles, CA

"Album Of The Year Award"

Album of the Year
Beach Patrol - It's Only Greener 'Til You Get There
Picking the top album of the year required a hugely difficult decision. I seriously considered the Kidnappers' Neon Signs, as well as the Bamboo Kids' Feel Like Hell. And on the pop/alternative side of things, the AV Club and The Tattle Tales could not be ignored. But ultimately, it came down to two serious candidates, both of which were clearly worthy title holders. It was a virtual tie in my mind: the poppy, blues-baked rock n' roll of the Mojomatics or the beer-joint powerpop of Beach Patrol. To break the tie, I resorted to extreme measures. I meditated for an entire weekend in the Arizona desert, far removed from modern conveniences and sustained only by deer jerky and un-refrigerated Coors. I played both discs for all of my friends, neighbors, and relatives (who mostly responded with laughter, derision, and queries about my thoughts on Santana and Gretchen Wilson). I checked into a university research facility that scientifically measured my pleasure response to both albums. Nothing at all conclusive came of such endeavors. In a last-ditch attempt to crown a champion full-length, I invited my friends Ryan and Roy over and instructed each of them to take one of the album of the year candidates home with them. I asked each man to not allow me to have my disc back under any circumstance, because I was testing myself and needed to find out which of the two I'd miss enough to resort to illegal means of recovery. Roy took the Beach Patrol disc; Ryan took Mojomatics. Whose house would I break into first? Two nights later, I had my answer - discovered at the expense of two broken fingers, one dog bite, and the horror of seeing Roy's little sister's middle-aged boyfriend's flabby bare ass.

I liked the Beach Patrol album from the first time I heard it, but I think it took a while for me to come to the realization that it was bona fide album of the year material. The idiot rock critic synopsis of this band is something along the lines of "The Figgs + Elvis Costello + Green Bay", but even that doesn't do the group justice. The music of Beach Patrol is timelessly catchy pop/rock, distinguished not just by style but also by some of the finest songwriting exhibited in years. These are songs you like after one listen, love after five listens, and can't live without after 20 listens. I'll say what I said before: the album is so strong and consistent that it really could pass for a veteran band's best-of collection. There's not a bad song in the bunch; even the "weakest" tracks would not have sounded out of place on Sucking In Stereo (generally regarded in Now Wave nation as The Figgs' very best album). - Now Wave Magazine, Philadelphia PA


"It's Only Greener Til You Get There" -LP/CD 2006
As Yet Untitled Follow Up- LP/CD 2007


Feeling a bit camera shy


an (informative!) interview with Beach Patrol
by Brian Mosher

I remember when the Patriots got beaten by the Packers in Super Bowl XXXI. It was soon after that trauma that Wisconsin stole Massachusetts's title as cranberry capital of the world. I've never really forgiven Wisconsin for that. Until now, that is. Beach Patrol has gone a long way toward repairing my opinion of the Cheese Head State. Members Domenic (Nick) Marcantonio (vocals/guitar), Jeffrey VanDreel (bass), and Preston Ely (drum kit) formed Beach Patrol in 2004. But the three of them had been playing together since early 2001 in various incarnations, most notably in The Rumors ("the three of us plus Holly on rhythm guitar", according to Nick) and the Vertebreakers ("essentially the three of us backing Atom K. who now plays with the Tuff Bananas"). Pretty much right from the moment their CD It's Only Greener 'til You Get There (Duck on Monkey Records) hit my mailbox, it's been in heavy rotation in my CD player. Here's an interview.

Brian: Since I'm an old, jealous guy: How old are you boys? You look about 17 in the pictures on the CD.

Nick: We've been the youngest band in our scene for what seems like forever, but that's starting to change. That photo was taken in May, and at the time Preston and I were 20, and Jeff was 22. We have become 21 and 23 since then.

Brian: Again referring to the photo on the CD sleeve, I see you playing an SG. Is that what you normally play? How many guitars do you have that you actually play?

Nick: I'm usually strapped to the SG, but I can also be found playing a Telecaster. I do most of my writing on my banged up Ibanez acoustic. I don't really get to experiment much with playing other types of guitars, 'cuz there isn't much in the way of left-handed guitars in the shops around here, so I just stick to what I know works for me.

Brian: I'm always curious about influences and origins. What's the first record you remember hearing that made you think, "I want to do that"?

Nick: This is the question that most people lie about their answer. I'm not going to do that. The first record I heard that made me want to pick up a guitar when I was 12 was probably Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic or AC/DC's Let There Be Rock. First records that made me want to start writing songs were ALL of The Beatles albums. And the first record that told me to start a band even if I didn't think I was good enough yet was the Ramones' Rocket to Russia. Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True was an important one too. I was 14 when I picked that one up, and it couldn't have come at a better time. He struck me as more "punk rock" with his sharp tongue and sardonic wit, than the standard "Fuck you/Fuck me/Fuck them" formula that characterized the genre.

Brian: It seems like a lot of reviewers compare you guys to The Figgs. I can hear that, but I don't know if it's as dramatic as others seem to. What's your take on that? Do you feel like your sound is influenced by The Figgs, or are there other bands you think you sound more like? Do you even like The Figgs?

Nick: We love the Figgs, without a doubt! They are fantastic dudes, and they make great records! Although the Figgs have been one of our more modern influences, I think the main cause for the similarities (and one of the reasons we got into them!) is that we share a lot of the same influences. Bands like the Beatles, The Kinks, The Stones, The Replacements, and Elvis Costello are pretty evident on the musical palettes of both of our bands.

Brian: What do you think of the stuff Elvis has done over the last few years?

Nick: There are only a couple of albums in his entire career that I don't really dig: The Juliet Letters and Goodbye Cruel World (for the most part)...Come to think of it, Punch the Clock ain't so hot either; maybe a couple of songs. He's been on a roll the last few years with When I Was Cruel, Delivery Man, and The River In Reverse with Allen Touissant. Great, great stuff!

Brian: Have you played much outside of Wisconsin?

Nick: We hit Chicago a few times. We're going on tour this spring when Jeff is done with college.

Brian: Will your spring tour include any East Coast dates?

Nick: The spring tour will be taking us to Philadelphia and Brooklyn, but we're going on a full and proper East Coast tour in June.

Brian: Will the Packers ever be good again?

Nick: I hope so for Favre's sake. Hall of Fame quarterback like that doesn't deserve to end on such a poor note. He still throws like a rocket, and supports his local independent record store!

Brian: When you're writing songs, how much comes from real life experiences, and how much is from other sources?

Nick: It's mostly from my own real life experiences. Sometimes I write about real life experiences through the eyes of people I know, and some that I don't know as well. "Amelia"'s 100% fiction. "Trampoline" was for fun. And I'm pretty sure Jeff wrote "Mary" out of nowhere, but it may hav