Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Explorers Club - Freedom Wind

I like The Beach Boys quite a bit (although I'm not as familiar with their catalogue as I should be). And I generally like bands that name The Beach Boys as an influence. The Explorers Club is some sort of hybrid of those two characteristics. Their love for the Boys is so unabashed and obsessive, I would go so far as to call them freaky stalkers if it were 30 years ago.

This is an album I have been looking forward to for a while, ever since I heard their single Do You Love Me back in March. It sounded so much like The Beach Boys, it could have been some long lost undiscovered demo. That got me really excited for Freedom Wind to come out because I was hoping for an album full of Beach Boys tributes/rip offs. Sadly, that turned out not to be the case.

Freedom Wind fails because The Explorers Club isn't and could never be The Beach Boys (obviously). Strangely, the worst part is when they try to mix their own sound into things, like the awful Honey, I Don't Know Why, where a second singer adds his raspy rock star voice along with the sweet falsettos of the lead singer. It's grating and it just reminds you that no, The Explorers Club are not The Beach Boys.

As weird as it sounds, the triumphant songs on Freedom Wind are the ones that sound the most similar to The Boys. The reason being, you can just kind of space out and forget who you're actually listening to. And unfortunately, there's only a handful of those songs on here. The opener, Forever, is one, as is Do You Love Me. Last Kiss is another, one of those upbeat songs that reminds you of classics like Do You Wanna Dance. The rest are either mediocre imitations of The Beach Boys that serve to remind you who you're actually listening to (Don't Forget the Sun) or they end up being some poor combination of a 21st century indie pop band and your favorite surf pop stars from years past (the horrid self titled album closer)

The best song on here is the single, Do You Love Me, which sucks because usually the single is just the most accessible song, not the best. The single is supposed to hook you in with ease and then you can enjoy the rest of the album that is more difficult but more rewarding. Freedom Wind does not follow this path. Everything on it is less than spectacular. If you must, download (legally, of course) a couple of the more choice tracks and skip the rest. Needless to say, it's always safer and more rewarding to listen to the whimsical Pet Sounds.

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