Decent, but not great.
Windsor Herriman | New York, NY USA | 07/07/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the accolades surrounding the re-release of Pacific Ocean Blue, I didn't hesitate to throw down for the nicely-packaged 2-disc set, expecting an undiscovered (by me) 70's rock gem. As it turns out, the album is better than you might expect from "the drummer of the Beach Boys" - IF you'd never heard the hype - but not nearly as incredible as many of the reviewers here would have you believe.
While some may say that his lyrics were profound and "spiritual", to me they come across as simplistic and...well, stoned. In addition, Dennis Wilson's voice is problematic for me; he sounds as if he's got partial laryngitis when he opens up or goes for a high note. His vocal rasp sounds more like damage than soul.
The melodies are the strong suite here, starting with the beautiful kick-off track, "River Song", which benefits greatly from brother Carl's harmonies, which I would have liked to heard more of. The production is also top-notch, with some really inspired session playing. All in all, a solid solo effort from the least-likely Beach Boy, but not the classic I was expecting."
An epic journey
Todd E. Winkels | Tucson, AZ United States | 07/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
Dennis' music took time for me to appreciate...at least his BB work did...by the time I first heard Pacific Ocean Blue some years ago, I was somewhat prepared by hearing his songs on the Beach Boys "LA Light" album, and some of his very early work on the Beach Boys' "20/20" and "Sunflower" albums. I think of his songs as tone poems, a heavy rock version of Liszt or Tchaikovsy's meandering romantic vast canvases...his work also sounds through-composed, with loose song structures.
As much as I love the "Pacific Ocean Blue" songs, I have been most impressed with the "Bambu" sessions, especially the brooding ballads with slow, funeral tempos...very interesting chord changes thoughout...."end of tether" singing...subject matter mostly revolves around sentimental songs about women, which I can dig big time (seems to be a Wilson brother trait).
The productions speak of their time....deep into the late 70's, but at the same time I've heard nothing like this. The arrangements are appropiately quite large to match the "need" or romanticism of the subject matter (love or sadness over a lady).
As mentioned above, the structures of the songs are also appropiately through-composed...like an improvisation never developed into a full song, and orchestrated in the midst of inspiration rather than careful planning. Therefore, the "seams" show, and thats what I love about it.
The vinyl set is an incredible listening experience. I have yet to do an A/B comparison with the CD, but it appears the exquisite sound is wider in dynamic range, and the sound picture is deeper overall...I was stunned, and listened almost through the whole 3 LP set in one sitting. The warmth and clarity of the sound is absolutely stunning. The dark tones are deep and resonant, rounded and full. The highs are clear, but welcoming to the ear, no sound of stress or fatigue on the ear. After listening I felt as if my ear had just soaked in a warm nourishing bath. It's a grand experience in every way...an epic journey.
And the packaging is grand in every way, with much care in the design and the extra 2 page photo spread booklet (with POP lyrics on the back page) is a nice touch. Dennis's "thank note" is on a separate card. The vinyl is a deep blue...just beautiful."
A hidden gem in the world of music....
CRH | OHIO | 07/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Released in 1977 and long out of print, Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue is back in grand fashion. This record isn't just for Beach Boys collectors as there are no similarities in sound here. Dennis Wilson was his own artist and it shows on this beautiful ocean blue vinyl release."