There are certain expectations when you name your band after a Beach Boys song. Take Cabin Essence, the retro-minded Milwaukee project fronted by Nick Maas. (No relation to Milwaukee Record‘s own Tyler Maas.) On the surface, one might imagine the group’s loyalty to all the classic Beach Boys tropes: surfing, cars, girls, surfing. But this is a Smile-era Beach Boys song we’re talking about (sometimes known as “Cabin Essence,” sometimes “Cabinessence”), which means things are going to be a little more grown-up, a little more interesting, and a little less fun, fun, fun ’til her daddy takes the T-Bird away.
That’s certainly the case with “For Your Love” and “No More,” two new songs that not only show off the baroque Brian Wilson side of Cabin Essence, but the power-pop Matthew Sweet side, too. “For Your Love” (no, not the Yardbirds’ “For Your Love”) is a mellow, sun-kissed head trip highlighted by hazy harmonies and an effortless melody. (Also, Maas begins his lyrics midstream, with the word “and,” which is always nice.) “No More” is more of a straightforward rocker—albeit one that’s performed and sung entirely by Maas, save for some typically tight drumming from Jon Phillip.
Speaking of performing and singing solo, Cabin Essence may be something of a one-artist recording project (press materials state that “CABIN ESSENCE is Nick Maas and Nick Maas is CABIN ESSENCE”), but the live version is anything but (and includes Milwaukee great Terry Hackbarth on bass). Catch that band when they (and Big Mother Gig) open for The Posies on Saturday, July 20 at The Back Room @ Colectivo. In the meantime, listen to “For Your Love” and “No More” below, and/or buy the vinyl release for only $6.