The Beach Boys - That's Why God Made The Radio
- By Chris Jefferies -
- Jun 08, 2012
It's hard to resist the warm wave of nostalgia that crashes into your ears during the acapella opening of the new Beach Boys album.
Nearly 20 years on from their last album of all-new material, Brian Wilson and his surf-loving cohorts are back with 'That's Why God Made The Radio'. They may be pushing 70, but they are still smoothly crooning along like it's 1962.
If nostalgia is what you're after, then this record certainly won't disappoint. But those expecting a reinvention will be left wanting. Essentially this is an album written to accompany a reunion tour, not to push back the boundaries, and it's fair to say that Wilson deserves the luxury of writing an album or two well within in his comfort zone, particularly given his ill-fated experimentation with Country and Western music in the early 1990s.
There's something inescapably retro about the jangly groove of 'Spring Vacation', to the extent that it could have been lifted from the soundtrack to 'Grease'. Part of this is down to personnel, with backing vocalist David Marks returning to the fold for the first time in nearly 50 years, meaning that this record boasts all the surviving bands members who recorded 'Surfin' USA' back in 1962.
With lyrics like 'Isn't it time we danced the night away?/How about doing it just like yesterday?' it's clear that the band aren't trying to reinvent the wheel on this record. Indeed, the hooks and choruses are just as catchy as they ever were, and without a doubt they will worm their way into your every waking moment.
The tone of the compositions is pretty relentlessly upbeat for the first half, in fact there's barely a minor chord until the opening of 'Shelter'. As the record draws to a close, there is time for some downbeat contemplation, particularly on the subtle lament of 'Summer's Gone' (which, as a bizarre side note, was co-written by Jon Bon Jovi).
At no point does this record hit the sublime heights of 'Pet Sounds' or 'Good Vibrations', but nonetheless it is an authentic Beach Boys record that certainly won't offend any flower children of the 60s looking to take a relaxing summery stroll down memory lane.
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