Surf's Up

Surf's Up

The Beach Boys had to rely on their U.K. fans for praise and support through much of the early 1970s. In the U.S., it would take a few years before the true beauty and worth of their post-Pet Sounds material would be properly appreciated. Surf's Up is a series of eclectic moments that reaches transcendence in the final songs, where three of Brian Wilson's finest spread their harmonies around. The title track had been kicking around since the Smile sessions and is the album's most ambitious—and successful—moment. "A Day In the Life Of A Tree" allows Al Jardine, Van Dyke Parks and the song's co-writer, Jack Rieley, to voice Brian's powerful sentiments. "'Til I Die" is simply haunting. The band's "pop" material had become so artful and sophisticated that it confused listeners looking for the group's famous quick hooks and bouncy grooves. Even the more immediately accessible material here has an undertow of high concept and weirdness. Bruce Johnston's "Disney Girls" is luscious. "Don't Go Near The Water" gets crazy. And Mike Love's "Student Demonstration Time" is a freaky jam.

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