luns, 10 de setembro de 2012

CELEBRATION - Almost Summer (MCA 1978)


During the late 1970s, Mike Love began to take on projects outside of The Beach Boys organization.  One of the major side-trips was with Celebration, a band which featured many of the players who would figure as part of the Beach Boys band for decades to come.  Although this film (and its soundtrack) have faded into oblivion, it's interesting to hear how, even away from The Beach Boys, Mike Love would take their sound along with him: "Almost Summer" is of particular interest, since it's a collaboration between Brian, Mike and Al, and sounds akin to "Some Of Your Love," with the opening tag stolen directly from that song.  But it's the second track which is really eye-opening.  Mike has long stated that he's the "optimism" half of the Beach Boys, while Brian is the "melancholy" but on "Sad Sad Summer" Mike has written as melancholy a lyric and melody as Brian ever did.  It's a pretty melody as well, if repetitive, and to my ears, it's probably the best solo song Mike has ever composed.  The third song, "Cruisin'" also written by Mike, is fast, furious, and forgettably stereotypical car song, not bad, but by 1978, this type of song was so out of date that to have Mike still writing and singing about it is almost comical.  The rest of the album features only a couple of further tracks of interest: "It's OK" performed by Dave Robinson, who does a decent job with the then-recent Beach Boys song, and "Summer In The City" which is a very decent John Sebastian-penned track full of melody and drive.  The rest of the album is forgettable instrumentals and a couple of 1970s-era songs which have not worn well. Beach