Athens, Georgia band Nuclear Tourism’s self-titled sophomore album serves as a reminder of how much fun music can be in its rawest form, especially if that form involves a couple surf-rock anthems.
The album opener, “Feels Alright,” perfectly sets the tone with a song that highlights the strengths of each member without taking itself too seriously. The spirit and skill of the band is on full display in substance inspired songs like cannabis carol “Mary”, a loving tribute to marijuana, and “Half Drunk”, both of which feature rapid changes in tempo that redefine the songs halfway through.
Below the beer soaked surface level, the songs offer a different kind of substance. Beginning with a sample from 1967 film The Graduate, “Dad Brains” perfectly describes the feeling of rejecting the things you don’t want to do while still figuring out what it is you do want; the song is about doing the things that bring you pleasure, even if that means doing nothing at all, and doing your damnedest not to turn into the authority figures around you. Rather than denying the confusion about the future that many experience in their youth, this song embraces and capitalizes off of it. With “No Never!”, a song about refusing to compromise your identity, Nuclear Tourism delivers with a combination of deep-fried sounding instrumentals and growly sing-shouting that results in something even more fun to listen to than its counterparts on the album, which is not an easy task. With these songs, the band is able to offer criticisms in a way that is easy for listeners to digest without coming across as pretentious.
Standout “Cut Your Hair” captures the feeling of being enamored with someone and the comforting fact that despite not knowing what you want to do, you know who you want to do it with. Between the screams scattered throughout the song and the spoken lyrics and heavy guitar at the end, “Sick of it” is the kind of song that needs to be experienced live, bonus points if it’s in the pit cradling a beer.
With Nuclear Tourism, the band experiments with different genres, concepts and sounds and the result is something filled with the good old fashion dye-your-hair, smoke-your-weed, question-your-authority-figures garage-rock sound thatNuclear Tourism does so well.
Check the album out on the platform of your choice and go see Nuclear Tourism live this summer to get the full experience (which may or may not include someone having their head shaved on stage).
Nuclear Tourism’s upcoming shows:
6/17 Masquerade (ATL)
7/7 Georgia Theatre (unplugged set)
7/27 Slopfest (unplugged set)
8/11 Royal American (CHAS) (unplugged)
Haley Gilbert is a student writer from Lawrenceville, Georgia. She currently attends the University of Georgia and is part of the Marketing and Music Business programs. After attending countless concerts throughout her life, Haley realized the only thing she enjoys more than listening to music is talking about listening to music, and she is excited to do just that with Vinyl Mag. While she gravitates towards folk and rock music, she is looking forward to expanding her tastes, immersing herself in the vibrant Athens music scene, and sharing her findings with all of you.