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The Beach Boys – Pet SoundsReally? I’ve got to do “Pet Sounds” right after “Revolver”? That’s a lot of sacred sirloin to chew through.

Actually, to tell the truth, it kind of fits because, at least when this album was recorded, there was a bit of a transatlantic pissing contest going on between the boys and The Beatles. This album was written to rise to the challenge of “Rubber Soul” and its reinterpretation of classic rock conventions, and in turn it’s the album that got “Sgt Pepper…” going.

It’s also the album where Brian Wilson stepped up as the big creative force, and where his descent into mental breakdown began. It mixes touches of the well known sun and surf conventions into songs that are far richer, but is perfectly able to reach off into strange new directions as well as crafting perfect pop (the triple whammy of “Sloop John B”, “God Only Knows” and “I Know There’s an Answer” being a case in point).

“Wouldn’t it be Nice” for instance, is at the same time a great bit of surf pop and amazingly heartfelt at the same time, quite an achievement. Brian’s favourite though was the closer “Caroline No”, and it’s easy to miss after the Revolution 9-esque “Pet Sounds”, but it really is exceptional, loving and introspective at the same time.

It’s hard to pick out the highlights on this one; not only is it full of classics but each track is disparate enough to be hard to compare to the rest. This is the work of mature, talented musicians and writers, a true classic that almost lets us forgive “Kokomo”.

Almost.