These tracks come from nearly an hour's worth of the Surfin' USA recording sessions. This is one of those occasions where the bootleg actually sounds better than the legitimate release. The ultrawide stereo mixes and the immaculate source tape combine for a remarkably fresh discovery. Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 2 (1963) consists primarily of various alternate mixes rather than outtakes. Notable differences include the gorgeous instrumental backing tracks for "Surfin' USA" and "Shut Down." The latter is also available sans the droning Mike Love saxophone solo. "Stoked" and "Side Two" -- two otherwise forgotten instrumentals -- also benefit immeasurably from minor mix adjustments. As of this recording, the Beach Boys were a self-contained unit on the road as well as in the studio. The raw garage feel of "Let's Go Trippin'" and "The Baker Man" and the sophisticated key and tempo changes of "Finders Keepers" indicate that, on the whole, the band was able to contend with the popular style of the moment. However, most importantly, the Beach Boys were also able to keep apace of the deceptively simple-sounding compositions from leader Brian Wilson. In less than a year that would no longer be the case, as Wilson would begin to incorporate Los Angeles session musicians, most notably the Wrecking Crew led by percussionist Hal Blaine. While not as enlightening as some volumes in the Unsurpassed Masters series, those tracing the progression of studio wunderkind Wilson will inevitably discover tomes of valuable insight here.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer