Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Review: Smiles, Vibes & Harmony

Had a listen to that Brian Wilson tribute album, Smiles, Vibes & Harmony, I bought at the Box Hill Record Fair. Wow, it’s so raw and garagey! Most of the bands were unknown to me, but there was Sonic Youth, Billy Childish and thee Headcoats, and The Records, who are known to me. The Records are classic powerpop, and I have a cherished copy of their Starry Eyes single. They cover Darlin’ on the album, and it’s probably the most mainstream moment with the best vocals by far. They would have to be, as Carl Wilson’s vocals on the original are pretty amazing. But that was one of the interesting things about this album: unlike any Beach Boys album, it’s not about the vocals, it’s more about the rough indie vibe. A cover that stands out is the version of Wind Chimes by Mooseheart Faith, which is really different in that the band have given it an uptempo treatment. Imagine that: an uptempo version of Wind Chimes. Great! I Know There’s An Answer, from Pet Sounds gets the Sonic Youth treatment and sounds great, as I knew it would. It was probably their involvement in this project that tipped the scales in me buying the album, truth be told. My favourite Beach Boys album is Love You, and there are two songs from that album here: Johnny Carson and I Want To Pick You Up. The original version of the latter, with Brian and Dennis singing, has been known to bring me to tears. I don’t know if Sharky’s Machine‘s version will ever do that, but I like it and salute them for choosing such an unheralded gem to cover. It sometimes gets criticised for being a little ‘pedo’, but that’s downright bullshit. I’ll enjoy discovering the joys of the other tracks as I keep playing this marvellous record.