The Naked Brothers Band

Naked Brothers Band

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The first Naked Brothers Band album is a collection of songs from their Nickelodeon series, which began airing in February 2007, eight months before the release of this eponymous album. The Naked Brothers Band are a sextet but only two members are seen on the front cover of the album: Nat and Alex Wolff, the brothers who are the stars of this group. Alex drums, while Nat sings, plays keyboards, and, most importantly, writes the fizzy bubblegum songs that give the series its pop. At the age of just 11, Nat already shows a knack for irresistible hooks, and he can deliver those hooks in several different ways, from the pure pop shimmer of their theme song "If That's Not Love" and the jangly "Taxi Cab" (its guitars bringing to mind the Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville" without ripping it off) to the surprisingly tough rocker "I'm Out" and the funny Jimmy Buffett sendup "Banana Smoothie." Since these songs were almost all written for inclusion in 22-minute TV episodes, they're all brief -- most clock in around two minutes, with a few inching up all the way to three -- but that makes them easier to like, since the songs make their points and then get out of the way, yet the hooks are still ringing in your ears afterward. And while not every one of these 17 songs click, enough do to suggest that the Naked Brothers Band -- and particularly Nat -- have enough skill to make this something more than a brief flash in the pan. After all, the best testament to its strength as bubblegum pop is that it's as much fun to hear apart from the show as within the show; these sunny melodies are appealing to bubblegum fans who have no idea about the show, too.

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