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Mike Love | 12 Sides of Summer

The Beach Boys co-founder's latest solo jaunt cautiously ventures into new terrain.

WHO IS HE? The Beach Boys’ co-founding vocalist, longtime live frontman, frequently overlooked songwriting contributor and more outspoken yang to the introverted yin of cousin, collaborator and sometime competitor Brian Wilson.

WHAT IS THIS? A colourful collection of suitably seasonal classics from his band and others, 12 Sides of Summer is also his third solo album in as many years — an especially impressive achievement when you consider the surf-rock vet is currently celebrating his 78th summer.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A little more varied than you might expect. Sure, most of these 12 cuts stay well within Love’s musical comfort zone with their sunny surf-pop vibes and stacked vocal harmonies. But a few tracks venture ever so cautiously into relatively new terrain, embracing punchy brass, funky NOLA rhythms, R&B, bossa nova and reggae.


HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? While soaking up some rays at the beach, of course.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Warm, breezy, nostalgic, relaxed, dreamy, welcoming, sincere, loose, likeable, cool.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The Rivieras (and Ramones) classic California Sun benefits from the aforementioned horns and Crescent City funk; George Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun is recast as a sultry bossa nova; Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues and the Beach Boys’ own Keepin’ Summer Alive rock out fairly solidly. But it’s hard to top his energetic cover of another Ramones chestnut: The Noo Yawk surf-punk ode Rockaway Beach, complete with “1-2-3-4!” count-in.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY?Mike Love sings The Ramones? Now I’ve heard everything.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? At least once a summer — but not much more than that.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE AN EVENT, WHAT KIND OF EVENT WOULD IT BE? Hawaiian night at the seniors’ centre.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? Surf the Net and ride the waves, brah.