Eagle Vision [Release date 23.09.16]
One of the most important and significant albums in the history of popular culture, it is now 50 years since The Beach Boys released ‘Pet Sounds’, a hugely influential album that amazingly took 20 years to go platinum.
By album number 11 the band were striving to break away from the surfing and car songs that had made them famous and this is the definitive story of the album’s making. Interviews with surviving band members gives a potted history of the Beach Boys up until that point, and in particular regarding their song writing, and of Brian Johnson’s withdrawal from live performance to concentrate on the band’s studio output.
Johnson was afraid that the British Invasion would spell the end of the band that Al Jardine lovingly refers to as ‘a touring jukebox’ and so went into overdrive to prevent this from happening. Heavily influenced by Phil Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’ and in competition with The Beatles, actual studio footage from the recording of the album, live performance and interviews with the session players involved builds the story of the sessions that went on to become ‘Pet Sounds’.
The album was mostly written while the band was away on tour and main co-writer Tony Asher had a massive impact on the future direction of the band and in the album’s story. As is common with the Classic Albums series, if you love to hear the various studio parts stripped down then you are in for a real treat here- particularly on ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’ where we get to hear the isolated vocals and there are no less than 6 voices on it all in various harmonies.
The album contains such classics as ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’, ‘Sloop John B’, ‘Waiting for the Day’ and ‘God Only Knows’ – the latter John Lennon called the perfect song and he wasn’t wrong there. Once again, the isolated vocals on ‘God Only Knows’ are absolutely awesome.
The ‘Classic Albums- Pet Sounds’ DVD features more content then the televised edition and the bonus footage contains a wealth of additional interviews. This is a great documentary telling the story of one of the most important albums of all time. *****
Review by Nikk Gunns
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