If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Charleston, S.C.'s vibrant six- and sometimes seven-piece pop outfit the Explorers Club knows all about it. To put it bluntly, the group's debut CD, Freedom Wind, arrived in October from the Dead Oceans label (These Are Powers) sounding like an unapologetic replica of the Beach Boys, circa Pet Sounds. But according to the band's singer, guitarist and principal songwriter Jason Brewer, being called a copycat comes with the territory. "It's better than sounding like something that wasn't good, like the Doors," he offers dryly.
The project began in Atlanta while Brewer was holed up with friend and collaborator Troy Stains. They recorded two songs: a straight-forward rock number for his band, and another tune called "Forever" that was deliberately crafted to evoke the pop tones and intricacies of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson's early recordings. "I took the songs back to Charleston and everyone liked the Phil Spector/Brian Wilson one much more," he says. "After that, I decided to just start a band in that style."
Although comparisons to the Beach Boys abound, other songs, such as the album's rousing first single "Do You Love Me?" and "If You Go," fail to capture the rhythmic complexities of Pet Sounds; but the sappy lyrics and richly layered vocal harmonies embody the spirit of Southern California in the 1960s. An air of vivid melancholy and minimalism congeals around each song, placing the group in a category outside the realm of traditional indie rock.
"It's funny," Brewer says. "The other day our label guy jokingly said, 'We usually put out records that make people feel alienated, but your album is so accessible that it makes people feel ... alienated.'"
*Christ, Lord sorry
"Punk" style like this seems like it is the polar opposite of punk. Bradford Cox…
They're kind of starting to look like a joke of themselves. Song's good though.
All 80s movies want you...
Their show with Chris, Lord about 3 years at the Unicorn was the best.