Brian Wilson, “The Right Time” from No Pier Pressure (2015): One Track Mind

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As reliably gorgeous as “The Right Time” no doubt is — with Al Jardine’s voice leading us through another of those reverie-filled arrangements by Brian Wilson — it’s surprising, too.

After a lengthy period of rumor, and then some early confirmations, about a star-studded project filled with next-gen stars, it would have been easy enough to dismiss Brian Wilson’s forthcoming solo album as another in the long line of post-Santana attention grabs. Something aimed more at making a splash than creating one in your chest.

Instead, “The Right Time,” which also includes contributions by studio aces Don Was, Dean Parks and Jim Keltner, reconnects with a larger truth — and, in so doing, instantly places No Pier Pressure into a much more compelling context: This is the Beach Boys song that should have come next, before the latest in a series of mishaps involving Mike Love wrecked everything again after their celebrated reunion for 2012’s That’s Why God Made the Radio album and tour.

Listen as these two voices intertwine — becoming something more once again. Something as close as we’re likely to get to new music from the Beach Boys, who have long been nothing more than a touring outfit under the aegis of Wilson’s cousin Love. Al Jardine and Brian Wilson might not own the name, but — as “The Right Time” makes so strikingly clear — they own a large portion of the sound, and thus the legacy that remains.

The other big names might garner more headlines for No Pier Pressure, Wilson’s first solo album since 2008’s That Lucky Old Sun. They might even create the kind of buzz that brings the former Beach Boy back to the top of the charts. But it’s the presence of Jardine (and, as on their hastily concluded Beach Boys comeback tour, by early band member David Marks), that ultimately promises to make this album into something more. Together, they’ve helped Brian Wilson get something back that should have been his all along.

‘No Pier Pressure,’ due on April 7, 2015 via Capitol Records, also features collaborations with members of fun. and She & Him, as well as country singer Kacey Musgraves, among others.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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