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Friday, 8 June 2012

Once more unto the Beach...That's why God made the radio -

Brian Wilson's been on a roll during recent years - right from finally releasing the Smile album the way he originally envisioned it he hasn't put a foot wrong. His follow up to Smile, That Lucky Old Sun was a worthy follow up and even In the Key of Disney and Does Gershwin had their moments. His live shows in which he performed the entirety of Pet Sounds and Smile were an absolute triumph. And now he's back with the Beach Boys for an all new studio album, the band's first in 16 years,  and a reunion tour for their 50th anniversary.

These days Brian seems to have a permanent Rabbit-trapped-in-headlights expression upon his face, but his music can still raise a smile on far more flexible mugs.

Old friends have gone, they’ve gone their separate ways,”

"Summer weather, we're back together."

So how does this new Beach Boys album sound  - it sound just like summer, what did you expect. It's just a pity that Carl and Dennis couldn't come to this particular party, and it is a party with as expected Brian being all over the album, though the other Beach Boys come in with some great contributions. Bruce Johnston is prominent on vocals and there is some sterling guitar work throughout the album. Although nothing will come as that much of a surprise to those who have followed Brian Wilson's solo years, this is very much a group effort and it successfully manages to transport us back to the days when the sun always seemed to shine as we tore up and down the strip in the old man's hot-rod.

The album starts - and it is a proper album (remember those) and not just a collection of songs - starts off with those tight Beach Boy harmonies that no other band, not even The Beatles, could manage. And from there we're staright into the title track, That's why God made the radio and the years just fall away as those familiar Beach Boy voices mingle around Brian's lead vocal. It soon becomes clear that rather than having their eyes on the rear-view mirror, the band are very much concentrating on the road ahead.

The album splits neatly into two sections - the first side is brimming with optimism while the second side, in which Brian Wilson dominates, is far darker and with more mature concerns that cruising up and down the same old strip.

Sunlight is fading and there's not much left to say,"

The Beach Boys were a legendary band and this album certainly doesn't shame their legacy - the only complaint I have is that for a 50th anniversary album, the packaging is ...well, to be blunt - shit. Still it's the vibe that counts and its a good one.

1 comment:

D K Thomas said...

Hey Gary, just a quick note to let you know that I chose you for my post on The Versatile Blogger Award. Here's the link: Thanks