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That’s Why God Made The Radio
Beach boys back to their best
Philip Byrne, 01 Jun 2012
Marking their 50th anniversary, the latest Beach Boys album reunites Brian Wilson with Mike Love, Al Jardine and long-estranged member David Marks. That they made it is surprising enough – but what’s really astonishing is the way it harks back so successfully to the acid-tinged stuff Wilson was doing in the late ‘60s.
Opener ‘Think About The Days’ is a showcase for the band’s crystal-clear vocal harmonies. Even in their sixties and seventies, these men still have the voices of 22-year-olds. From there the record segues into ‘Shelter’ (with echoes of ‘Don’t Worry Baby’), negotiates the Caribbean swing of ‘The Private Life Of Bill & Sue’ and culminates in the Smile-like suite of ‘Pacific Coast Highway’ and ‘Summer’s Gone’, two of the most beautiful songs Brian Wilson has ever turned out.
There are a few clunkers. ‘Beaches In Mind’ sounds a little worn, and ‘Daybreak Over The Ocean’ fails to grab. But these are blips. The Beach Boys are not rehashing anything here. This is their best album in decades. If it’s also their last, it’s the perfect wave to catch before they call it a day.