Lightning shoots down the Beach Boys while some Heroes get Lonely Hearts

Round 2 – Group 21:

1.) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band:  The Beatles
2.) Jollification:  The Lightning Seeds
3.) Live At Knebworth 1980:  The Beach Boys
4.) The Papercut Chronicles:  Gym Class Heroes

It’s gonna rain on every roof

Jollification is an album that fits and starts. Just as it gets going it seemingly stops again. When I first purchased this in the 90’s, I remember being quite disappointed by how lacklustre it was. 25 years later and I’m still not convinced by it, although I can now appreciate it for what it is. Ian Brodie, the mastermind behind the band and writer of all the material, creates laid back, slickly produced pop/rock and throws in one or two gems.

The Fits: Punch & Judy and Open Goals struggle a bit to engage and Why Why Why (hehe) does Marvellous take so long to get going? Once it does though, it’s brilliant stuff, a bouncy, happy, singalong truimph.
The Starts: The excellent Change is a joy to listen to. Lucky You is very nice too and the Alison Moyet duet My Best Day ain’t half bad.

It was Fun Fun Fun for a while

Live at Knebworth 1980 is the only live recording featuring all the Beach Boys together. Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston. A fun time is had by all here and of course we get treated to a few superb live vocals and harmonies. No one can argue that this isn’t a collection of great songs (California Girls, Help Me Rhonda, I Get Around, Barbara Ann, Fun Fun Fun, Surfin’ USA). These are clearly some of the strongest songs in this group, they’re just nowhere near being the definitive versions of said songs and if I’m being honest, the production gets a bit messy in places too. Good Vibrations is spoiled by the obligatory audience participation. Lady Lynda, which is a superb live rendition with some brilliant trademark Beach Boys harmonies, is made cumbersome by the impromptu ‘one more time’ encore (although I’m nitpicking slightly). It’s an enjoyable little live album, they sound like they’re having a great time, there’s sturdy performances from the band but those negative aspects are the reason this Beach Boys album is pipped by Jollification.

Paper thin

Papercut Chronicles is the second album by ‘live’ hip hop outfit Gym Class Heroes. There’s still a slight novelty factor to this band, even if they are slightly edgy and lyrically strong, in places. That jazz fusion backing to Travis McCoy’s rapping is musically ok, there’s just nothing here that allows it to compete with the other three albums.

The highlights are Make Out Club and that middle section of Everyday Forecast, Simple Living, Pilmatic and chart hit Cupid’s Chokehold, which is moderately entertaining, despite it coming nowhere near Supertramp’s Breakfast In America, on which the track is based. Tracks like Faces In The Hall and Papercuts (which is repeated) are fairly bland and I find the album largely ordinary in this group.

And of course, Henry the Horse, Dances the Waltz

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band creates a bold sound and is fairly experimental with its liberal use of Sitars, Clarinets, Vaudeville, Music Hall, all in the pursuit of Pop. Hell, it still sounds forward thinking by today’s standards. This is such a rich and diverse album, She’s Leaving Home is basically a classical piece, with vocals. When I’m 64 sounds like a song that could have existed for hundreds of years. The beat to Sgt. Pepper (reprise) still sounds contemporary!

Considering The Beatles had already laid the foundations for modern pop music prior to making this album, it’s almost criminal that they still had this in their locker! Musically, it’s rock solid. The fab four’s lyrical expressiveness is not confined to the just the trippy Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Lovely Rita and She’s Leaving Home both paint a vivid story through their words too. Final track A Day In The Life has a quiet genius about it. Every time I listen to this album, It’s Getting Better!

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