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Pacific Ocean Blue (Legacy Edition)
Artist: Dennis Wilson
Label: Sony BMG
Times: 1 hour 53 minutes/2 CDs
Like an unrepentant prodigal son, Dennis
Wilson's spirit has waited for 31 years for this time to come. He has not
rested easily. Blessed and plagued as the wild Beach Boy, the one who actually
lived what the others sang about, he traveled through his life like a drifting
soul. He did nothing in moderation. This reason may be why this re-release
of his solo effort, _Pacific Ocean Blue,_ is such a critical
success, adding mystique and rough edges to the one-dimensional wholesome
image of America's band. It is packaged with photos, extended liner notes,
bonus tracks and the unfinished follow-up work, _Bambu_ on a second CD.
Clearly, Dennis learned his writing, vocal and studio production lessons well--but not from brother Brian. This album doesn't even hint of _Pet Sounds._ He didn't learn this from the early surf and hot rod music championed by his nemesis, Mike Love. This album's startling influence is from the band's most underrated effort, 1974's _Holland._ The sound, the texture, the diverse instrumentation and vocal arrangements suggest these tracks could have been Dennis' personal outtakes from the _Holland_ sessions. This period was one of his creative productivity, while The Beach Boys drifted aimlessly in the wake of their mid-70's comeback. The themes vary from broken love, mourning, protection of the environment and heartfelt love songs.
What is most surprising is Wilson's vocal
work. While he captures the Beach Boys' multi-harmonic layered approach,
he distinguishes himself with the whiskey-tinged, ragged soulfulness of
his voice. He's the antithesis of the beautiful smooth sound of his brother
Carl, and the contrast works better than can be described in print.
Terry Roland July 22, 2008