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BEACH BOYS – That’s Why God Made The Radio

| 3 September 2012 | Reply

Capitol, 2012

By Shane Pinnegar

Old is still the new New, and 2012’s latest serve of oldies coming up with a goodie is courtesy of none other than The Beach Boys – with as close to their classic line-up as is possible nowadays reunited for the first time in donkey’s years.

The first thing that strikes you about this album is that despite their ages – Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, David Marks and Bruce Johnston are all around 70 years old – those lush vocal harmonies are still as beautiful as ever.

First single and title track is a glorious sun drenched pop song, custom made for 60’s and 70’s radio and today’s nostalgia boom – this is where the band’s heart and soul lie, and this is what they do best. Wisely they’ve chosen to not rock the boat at all – Daybreak Over Ocean, Beaches In Mind, Strange World, Pacific Coast Highway and Summer’s Gone all flirt with themes of beaches and girls and summer and cars – all the stuff that made them famous in the first place.

Brian Wilson leads the songwriting charge, pitching in with some beautiful melodies as always, and a surprisingly insightful lyric on The Private Life Of Bill And Sue about the unfathomable reality TV craze. Elsewhere there are co writes by Mike Love – seemingly putting aside he and Wilson’s differences over the years.

Pacific Coast Highway’s lament of the onset of old age is tempered by another gorgeously sugary melody and sunny harmonies, likewise the album closer Summer’s Gone, which continues the theme of looking back wistfully and with more than a hint of regret.

This juxtaposition of sadness and sunshine makes these songs somehow more poignant, and perhaps that can be extrapolated for this whole album: it may well be The Beach Boys’ swansong, but for now they have put their personal and legal squabbles aside and are living in the moment, and because of that, “That’s Why God Made The Radio” is a lovely, touching addition to their catalogue.

Category: CD Reviews

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