Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
You really do have to hand it to the Explorers Club as being the willing participant to a gluttony of punishment and aggravation. Without being bashful or deceptive, the big group from South Carolina makes music that, for all historical and argumentative purposes sprung from a single household in Hawthorne, Calif., in the late 50s and 60s. Those Wilson boys are the soul brothers from a different mother - the patriarchs - of the Explorers Club. Hell, if it made any logical or logistical sense, the Beach Boys should rightfully be allowed to claim that they taught all of the members of this Dead Oceans band how to ride their bikes, had their first ball and glove catch together and instructed them on what exactly it means to be chivalrous in these modern times. Fortunately for the Explorers Club, they don't approach their sunny-side-up, beach blanket and abundant love thematic half-heartedly, but with perfect pitch, spot-on delivery, a nit-picker's insistence upon details and a warm gusto that is uncannily lovable. The harmonious bursts and flares are endearing and it's the sort of old, reminiscent sound of long-gone simplicity (by way of congruent complexity and texture) that would and will always demand attention and have the power of transportation, back to an olden love experience or a special someone from those carefree younger days, as they're always wont to be remembered as. The songs on the band's debut full-length are of the worn and hummable variety that believes that there is an idyllic status that love or potential love can attain if it's just given over to the possibility - a belief in the sun and irascible tenacity of the prevailing winds of romance that Brian Wilson tied so many of his hopes and dreams to. So much of love - the idea and the actuality of it - is in relation to all of the fear associated with it. All of the what if scenarios and the devastating possibility that it will be short-lived or that it's not at all real in the first place. Often it's portrayed in Explorers Club songs as this unshakable dread that someone's going to be leaving, going away for a while and there's a king hope that no one will be forgetting what was shared. It's this sentiment, executed in a way that doesn't make it feel desperate or excessive, that the Beach Boys and the Explorers Club will always be known for. It goes back to the idea of chivalry - and not just in a be-kind-and-respectful sort of way. It stands as an example of the lovely way that matters of the heart should not be presumptive and they are not grains of salt. They cannot be taken lightly, except for in touch.
The Explorers Club
Dead Oceans Records