Al Jardine

A Postcard from California

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On A Postcard from California, Al Jardine creates a concept album of sorts, and at its best points, it's an album that's probably as close as we're going to get to a new Beach Boys album this far into the 21st century. That doesn't make it a Beach Boys album, of course, but the themes are all here -- California, the sea, waves, cars, girls, motion, all of that -- and Jardine also adds a large environmental layer to things, too. Does it work? It's well-intentioned and pleasant, and there is a host of guest stars on hand, from Neil Young to Flea, and there are some cool harmonies and sound effects of waves and gulls, but aside from a couple of tracks -- most notably "Don't Fight the Sea," the solid "Waves of Love" (which comes complete with sleigh bells), and an interesting harmonica-driven redo of "Help Me Rhonda" -- most of what's here is more well-intentioned and sincere than it is engaging. When things work, though, Jardine turns what is essentially a mid-period Beach Boys facsimile into something a little more interesting.

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