- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 2, 2001

THE BEACH BOYS
Hawthorne, Calif.
(Capitol Records)
Now were talking fun, fun, fun. This delightful two-CD compilation of nearly 40 rare Beach Boys recordings crowns an ambitious campaign by Capitol Records to reissue the premier American vocal groups studio output in pristine sound quality.
With this release, though, we get something completely different. To mark the groups approaching 40th anniversary, compilation producers Mark Linett and Alan Boyd dug deep into the tape vaults. After applying modern studio technology, they emerged with a trove of unheard or little-known Beach Boys gems (57 tracks in all, including non-music selections). The results will excite hard-core fans — and hopefully entice listeners whove been meaning to check out what all the fuss is about band leader Brian Wilson.
Named after the Los Angeles suburb where the teen-aged Wilson formed the Beach Boys with brothers Dennis and Carl, first cousin Mike Love and school buddy Al Jardine, "Hawthorne, CA: Birthplace of a Musical Legacy" unfolds as both an alternate history of the groups best-loved songs (from piano-based demos of "Surfin USA" and "Little Deuce Coupe" to a concert rehearsal of "Good Vibrations") and a fascinating glimpse into Brians evolution as singer, composer, arranger and record producer during the 1960s.
This beachcombers treasure offers previously unreleased songs ("Lonely Days," "A Time to Live In Dreams"), gorgeous alternate takes ("The Little Girl I Once Knew," "Break Away"), studio rehearsals (a wonderful romp through "Barbara Ann") revelatory stereo remixes by Mr. Linett ("Salt Lake City," "Dance Dance Dance"), exquisite a cappella vocals ("Old Man River," "Kiss Me Baby") and stunning backing tracks ("Fun, Fun, Fun," "Good to My Baby").
All this plus snippets of our Boys — including 65 arrival Bruce Johnston — goofing around or talking music. If you think youve got this band pegged, then catch this wave. — Ken McIntyre

THE CULT
Beyond Good and Evil
(Atlantic)
"Resurrect me," Ian Astbury sings on the Cults new album, and radio has avidly granted his request. The first single, "Rise," is reviving a following that has been dormant since the group disbanded after its self-titled commercial failure in 1995. The songs strength promises to push the band back up the charts.
The pre-release hype is merited. "Beyond Good and Evil" is suffused with strident energy, built on the guitar grinding of Billy Duffy and Mr. Astburys searing falsetto. Most of the album delivers the same insistent rhythms and tight structures of the single. Except for a clunky rap on "Take the Power" and a flat, droning ballad ("Nico"), it sticks to an anthem style.
Mr. Astburys lyrics are the bands biggest weakness. He sprinkles forced phrases such as "velvet heaven" and "the song of your heart" like so much stale seasoning. But he manages to imbue them with uncannily forceful passion.
A mainstay of the alternative scene, the band first attained acclaim with its 1985 debut. The singer just turned 40, but his puerile poetics show little lyrical maturity since then. Despite the title, the album is far from philosophical; most track titles ("War," "The Saint") bear at best an arbitrary connection to content.
Mr. Duffys playing is more varied; he adds a richer palette of industrial hues to his traditional metal-gothic vibe. Vocals remain the bands signature, however — the guitar sound seems to borrow heavily in parts from fellow alt-rockers such as Stone Temple Pilots. The addition of Matt Sorum on drums and Martyn Lenoble on bass must have energized the defunct band, whose newfound zeal is palpable.
"Beyond Good and Evil" answers no burning questions, but with it the Cult may convert more of the masses. — Bruce Hamilton

PETE YORN
Music for the Morning After
(Columbia Records)
"Music for the Morning After" opens with the scratch of a needle on vinyl and the tinny sound of Pete Yorns voice filtered through a record player. The sound directly parallels the blues-influenced rock of Mr. Yorn, which musically feels as though it belongs in the late 1970s, with its feel-good melodies and fairly simple riffs.
This CD has a number of inspired moments, from the gentle acoustic sway of "Just Another" to the nearly New Wave sounding anthem "Black" and the made-for-radio single "For Nancy," which also happens to be one of the best tracks on the album. Despite some weak material and some largely uninspired lyrics, the sheer talent of Mr. Yorn shines through.— Derek Simmonsen


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide