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Keri

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Reply with quote  #1 
It is so good to have another Brian Wilson album to enjoy, listening to No Pier Pressure makes me realise that Brian is an artist whose influences span from Doo Wop, Four Freshmen, Rosemary Clooney, Chuck Berry, J S Bach, Phil Spector George Gershwin and Burt Bacharach. This diversity of influences comes to mind as this new album is so different from say Gettin in Over My Head, Love You, Brian Wilson 88, SMiLE, Pet Sounds and That Lucky Old Sun but all of them are different facets of Brian's musical personality.

No Pier Pressure has that extreme polish that his other collaboration with Joe Thomas has. I have to admit that Imagination is one of Brian's solo albums that i have the most problems with, I am suspicious as to how much control Brian had over the arrangements,  I don't find them as engaging as most of his work, maybe this new album will help me to reassess Imagination.

But I find with No Pier Pressure that the production sheen is used to great effect to build a beautiful rich and mellow mood that yet still has much playfulness and invention in it. It is well framed by This Beautiful Day and Last Song (I'm not a fan of Bonus tracks and find they detract from this one even though they are interesting in and of themselves)

I won't go though all the songs but there are none that I want to skip. On the Island has a very cool sixties vibe to it, great singing, Brian has made great use of guest singers throughout the album and his use of Al is spot on also fantastic to hear Blondie "Sail Away is definitely one of my favourite songs, I really like it's writing the allusions to other songs yet is one of Brian's great pocket symphonies with all sorts of parts that flow effortlessly together.

The Collaboration with Kacey Musgraves on Guess You Had To Be There is another stand out collaboration, love her voice the instrumentation, cool lyrics too.

I only got the album yesterday, so much to explore, one thing I'll say is that this isn't an album by an artist who is running out of ideas. What can I say Brian has delivered and he's surprised me, again. Thank you Mr Wilson.
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thorgil

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Keri, your loose, understated NPP review is the best I have read yet.
Imagination is one of three Brian albums that don't do much for me (the others are GIOMH and Disney), and I guess Brian's engagement was much less than for NPP. "But I find with No Pier Pressure that the production sheen is used to great effect to build a beautiful rich and mellow mood that yet still has much playfulness and invention in it": perfectly put.
The only song I'd wish now and then to skip is "Don't Worry", but it isn't a showstopper like a couple in TWGMTR.
Imho the "duets" make NPP a quirky, fun album.
"Sail Away" is my favourite together with "One Kind of Love" (another "pocket symphony"). If curmudgeons get so hung up about the playful references to Sloop John B, their loss.
Many people are always expecting from Brian Pet Sounds II, Smile II, Love You II etc. Brian is never doing II of anything. He moves on. That's what "No Pier Pressure" means.
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Keri

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks Thorgil,

I like your interpretation of the title, exactly this album isn't any other album revisited. It's interesting the way in which you enjoy his albums can be very different. Comparing an album like Love You to Pet Sounds doesn't really make sense because they're not even on the same scale. This new one gets where it's going with a slick production amazing horn and string arrangements and pulling on a wide variety of different voices. It doesn't show case the Brian Wilson band, although they're still there.

Anyway things are good, new music to enjoy, quality pop music.
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HAL2591

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Reply with quote  #4 
Great review Keri.

"this isn't an album by an artist who is running out of ideas" perfectly put! There is so much diversity and creativity on this album - some great harmonies and instruments are buried deep in the mix.

Also very much agree with your opinion about bonus tracks. I honestly don't mind them being tacked on to the end of an album, but the inclusion of the bonus tracks in the middle of NPP throws off the vibe of the whole record for me. I went into iTunes and rearranged the track order for my Target and iTunes versions back to the standard listing.

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"My God, it's full of stars!"
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RB

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Reply with quote  #5 
Bought the CD at Target last week. Wanted the bonus tracks. Ripped them to iTunes, but the original CD has remained in my car CD player  since purchase.

I find the album to be a very interesting mix of music "styles". There are tracks that are pure BW, with harmonies reminiscent to classic BB songs. And then there are tracks that expand into different genres. I'm having a heck of a time digesting it, and that's a good thing. I am very pleased.
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