Bambu (1979) Oct 18, 2019 19:27:28 GMT
Post by Kapitan on Oct 18, 2019 19:27:28 GMT
There are a couple of elephants in this room to address first:
1) I fully understand that Bambu is not an album and was not released in 1979 or ever. But I don't think it's much of a stretch to review it using the music included in the 2008 deluxe reissue Pacific Ocean Blue package. I'm treating that material as if it were a released album much in the way we used to do with Smile before it was released but when it was also obviously too consequential to pretend didn't exist.
2) The measured praise I have for Pacific Ocean Blue and Dennis Wilson in general is gone, more or less, on this material. I pretty much hate it. So ... there's that. My bias is on the table.
Dennis Wilson's strength was not as a singer. Yes, his gruff voice (when seen emanating from his handsome face) was heard as emotional and he could be a very effective harmony singer. (A little grit works wonders in a blend. It lends depth.) I've never been as big a fan of his voice as a lead--at least not in large doses. So I was excited to hear "It's Not Too Late" for Carl Wilson's vocals until I heard Carl Wilson's vocals on it. Christ.
Then there are the songs, which range from mostly boring to bad. It's amazing to me how many talented people wasted their efforts on this material. It's as bloated and tedious as those years dealing with a dying Dennis must have been. The best song, "Love Surrounds Me" appears on a Beach Boys album, saving fans the money it would have taken to buy this (had it been released).
This is so, so boring. There is so little variety. There are so few hooks. There is just nothing. Mountains of slow-tempo nothing piled upon itself. Maybe it sounded great to someone ingesting tremendous quantities of alcohol and coke. Maybe not. I don't know. But it never sounded good to me, and still doesn't.
If it had been released, it would somehow top (bottom?) the late 80s and early 90s Beach Boys material as the absolute worst affiliated content. Instead it sat unheard except for bootlegs, building as some kind of legend, as if Dennis were in the company of brother Brian as a talent. Some people continued to insist that upon its eventual release in '08. I guess that's fine for them. God bless. But just now is the first time I've listened to it in years, and probably the last for years to come. I can't imagine why I'd want to waste my life this way.