A Postcard From California (2010) Oct 13, 2019 19:13:35 GMT
Post by Kapitan on Oct 13, 2019 19:13:35 GMT
Bless Al Jardine and his voice. But his solo "career" leaves something to be desired.
Finally, a dozen years after he left the Beach Boys (almost) for good and several years after leaving Brian Wilson's band to focus on his solo album, he gets the damn thing done ... only to offer up a 12-song album comprising four Beach Boys remakes, two Beach Boys outtake remakes, two non-songs, and yes, a few (four) new songs.
The sarcastic pessimist might suggest that it was a long wait for four songs.
But the more level-headed fellow might say that Jardine has never been a prolific, or even particularly exceptional, songwriter. What would a realistic person expect from a guy whose best moments have come singing leads and harmonies for other great songwriters, only occasionally adding in his own songwriting credits?
The music here is pretty good. While it might seem like a low bar to set, it avoids the common curse of the legacy artist: monkeying too much with one's own style to fit into what the inevitably out-of-touch artist thinks is currently en vogue. There are no drum machines, no autotune. While there are guest stars galore, the legendary Sebu is not among them.
Sure, the new songs are awfully Beach Boys-esque ... but isn't that what Al Jardine fans presumably would expect? The problem isn't the retro style, but that Jardine lacks the little moments of brilliance that Wilson still, even in his significantly diminished state, occasionally delivers. That said, he delivers what Wilson increasingly can't, which is strong lead vocals.
Personally I'd rather have seen these songs never come together as a solo album, and instead be in contention for That's Why God Made the Radio a couple years later. The originals would have benefitted from the arrangement and vocal inputs of the Beach Boys, and the covers could have remained where they belonged, which is to say in their original renditions. But instead they are what and where they are, and I don't mind hearing them every once in a while.