The Earlies

These Were the Earlies

Brian Wilson’s Smile, the great lost Beach Boys album, finally saw the light of day last year. These Were the Earlies was released in Europe months later, and it’s easy to see this delightful album as surfing playfully in Smile’s wake. Combining electronica and art-pop in lush arrangements, with a vast array of instruments, the complex production somehow manages never to seem busy. As with Wilco and the Flaming Lips, who’ve also managed to combine ambient sounds and electronic music with more traditional song structure and instrumentation, the real star is the songwriting: sweet perfection here, though there’s not a tune in the bunch that wouldn’t work with a single voice and guitar. One can’t help but gush over this fine pop album, thankfully available in the United States at last.