The Beach Boys, 'The Smile Sessions' (Capitol/EMI)

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The Smile Sessions
Critical Mass
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Label: Capitol/EMI

by Mike Powell

Brian Wilson's vision always was aligned more with America's myth than its reality — his brother Dennis was the surfer. And on the Beach Boys' unfinished colossus, he sees it end to end, from pilgrim hymnals and banjo-led frontier songs to Hollywood's version of the Wild West, with Hawaii erupting in the blue beyond. The five-disc set breaks down the album to its building blocks, while the two-CD version provides outtakes and an edit of what the original final product might have been: part tribute, part cartoon, part dream.

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