As November 1st draws closer and closer, dad-rockers the world over are finding it harder and harder to contain their excitement. That day will see the release of the long-awaited Smile Sessions, recordings from the Beach Boy’s never-released post-Pet Sounds project from 1966. Due to technical difficulties, as well as the insanity and unrecognized (at the time, of course) genius of Brian Wilson, the original album never saw the light of day. Today’s record is a different piece of the Smile legacy. In 2004, Wilson got together with his (shudder) touring band, and attempted to reconstruct that lost album from scratch. The result, Brian Wilson’s Smile, got a whole lot of love from fans and critics alike, as it does give a fairly good idea of what could have been.
That being said, this is not The Beach Boys. It’s a 62-year-old Brian Wilson with a bunch of Beach Boys impersonators. Even though I am not a Beach Boys aficionado, I can still tell the difference. I will reluctantly admit that the back up band does stay fairly true to the original band’s sound, but even the simple fact that it’s not them does take away from this record. As for Brian Wilson, it is a bit strange hearing lyrics written by (and meant for) a twenty-year-old coming from a much older dude.
This project was never supposed to fill the hole left by the original unreleased record, though. Brian Wilson’s Smile is simply a reimagining of what should have been a masterpiece of a record. Almost all of the components are here, just about 40 years too late. The Smile Sessions is all from the ’60s, which should be fairly interesting.