Album Review: 1967: Sunshine Tomorrow by The Beach Boys
Great, Based on 4 Critics
Pitchfork - 81 Based on rating 8.1/10
From early 1966 to early '67, the Beach Boys matured from a platform for Brian Wilson's songwriting and production into a fully democratic band. As Wilson and Los Angeles session musicians were laboring over Pet Sounds and the infamously scrapped Smile, a live quartet--led by Brian's brother Carl--toured the world, with Bruce Johnston replacing the stage-shy Brian. But during the Summer of Love, as Wilson's Smile lost focus, these two visions of the Beach Boys merged and created something new--as documented on the remarkable 2xCD set 1967 - Sunshine Tomorrow.
Another copyright extension collection -- the Beach Boys have been releasing them like clockwork since 2013's The Big Beat 1963 -- 1967: Sunshine Tomorrow covers the aftermath of the abandoned SMiLE a period that produced two albums: the salvage job Smiley Smile, and Wild Honey, a record that opened a new chapter in the Beach Boys' career. Given how it pointed toward the band's future as a tougher touring concern, Wild Honey appropriately takes center stage on this project, with a vivid new stereo mix -- the album's first-ever -- opening the proceedings. The rest of the first disc is filled with outtakes from Wild Honey and live versions of its songs, all of which wind up being more interesting than the handful of Smiley Smile sessions that begin disc two.
Brian Wilson spent much of 1965 and 1966 in maximalist mode. Inspired by the innovations of his friendly competition with The Beatles, the songwriter/producer--still amazingly only in his twenties--burst forth in this period with the masterpiece that was Pet Sounds and then drove himself near-crazy trying to top it with planned follow-up Smile. (The copious amounts of drugs he was ingesting at the time certainly didn't help.
Revisionist popular culture theories (and we can't get enough of those, can we?) have long suggested that Brian Wilson and the most lauded tandem talents in The Beatles spent the mid-1960s engaged in a transatlantic game of 'follow that' one-upmanship. The fabbest two of the Fab Four set the benchmark with Rubber Soul and Revolver, prompting the stay-at-home non‑surfer to respond with Pet Sounds, which in turn inspired the English oiks to delve deeper into the toy box for Sgt Pepper. Yet surely the most pressing concern was not looking over one's shoulder to check out what your rivals were up to - it was more about contemplating one's own navel and figuring out how to follow your own most recent leap and bound.