The Explorers Club have released two records this year. There is an album of covers titled, "To Sing And Be Born Again" which features straight readings of the songs by the bands that inspired their original material. It's pleasant enough, with some versions working better than others, especially their takes on Herb Alpert's "This Guy's In Love With You" and Orpheus' "Can't Find The Time." But nothing is really better than the original takes.
It's their self-titled collection of originals that really knocked me out. "The Explorers Club" is, as one friend put it, a "hit machine." Every song feels like a tribute to the great AM hits of the 60's and 70's. And while it's easy to dismiss it all as pastiche, the songs and production are so good, it really doesn't matter if you think you've heard it before. It's not easy to make records that so perfectly evoke the summer sounds of The Turtles, The Buckinghams, and of course, The Explorers Club's biggest influence, the Beach Boys. Try it. Jellyfish sealed their fate in pop history doing it. They just tapped different bands.
If their debut leaned a bit too much on the Beach Boys side, at times sounding more like The Rutles doing the Wilsons, the new record plays like a more mature band who have used their time wisely, writing songs that are fresh enough to jog the memories without feeling like full on parodies. I played this album twice yesterday and I am looking forward to another few go arounds today.
Check them out.