The sort of Beach Boys fan delighted by last year’s superlative treatment of the band’s SMiLE-era material would probably be equally apprehensive of an album’s worth of new songs, recorded to coincide with the group’s 50th anniversary.
To begin with, it seems as if the worst fears have been realised: the production is monumentally cheesy, the material buffed to within an inch of its life; the lyrics read as if the band met at a Seasonal Affective Disorder help group and were tasked with writing an album as therapy. Yet, once the listener manages to accept these obvious shortcomings, TWGMTR reveals itself as a genuinely enjoyable listen.
The subdued, sad and rather lovely wordless harmonies of Think About The Days opens, before moving on to the title track and lead single, a vintage Wilson melody married to a nostalgic, clunky lyric that most recalls the Brian Wilson solo record Imagination. Isn’t It Time is the sort of goofy grinfest that peppered their mid-70s output (see It’s OK, Love You); silly and – much like the first half of the record – hard to dislike.
Shelter sees the album step up a gear: a genuinely affecting song with Carl Wilson stand-in Jeffrey Foskett putting in a great performance. Meanwhile, penultimate song Pacific Coast Highway is a heartbreaking Brian-led lament that’s nearly topped by the closing Summer’s Gone. Both songs feature the kind of harmonies that are worth the admission price alone and, against all odds, help to make TWGMTR a minor triumph.