Great indie rock bands have long made a habit of recasting the music of our parents’ youth. Turn on Dr. Dog, Olivia Tremor Control, or the Black Angels for just a few examples of bands who make glorious new music in classic molds. Now take the idea a step further. Take the homage just far enough that you can imagine yourself experiencing, say, the Beach Boys in their prime, but with fresh songs not tempered by a generation of Sweatin’ to the Oldies. This is elation without irony. This is the Explorers Club’s debut album, Freedom Wind. The Beach Boys are the obvious touchstone, but dig a bit deeper and you’ll hear flourishes of Paul McCartney, the Byrds, Emitt Rhodes, ELO and doo-wop. Embracing a pop blueprint from a time when great songs were played on the radio and everybody loved them all, the Explorers Club has recorded the sweetest pop record you are likely to hear this year. The Explorers Club are doing for the summer beach song what Amy Winehouse has done for R&B or Sharon Jones for funk and soul, what Antibalas have done for Afro-beat. They’re reclaiming the classics as their own, injecting them with life, and making music that that transcends any era. This is how pop music is supposed to sound. Prepare yourself. Freedom Wind is the soundtrack to the summer of 2008.
In the age of the MP3, flavors of the “month” circulate far faster than Baskin Robbins can rotate their cooler. It is refreshing, then, to hear something timeless every now and again, and the Explorers Club is just that. This is sunny psychedelic pop replete with lush arrangements and cushy four-part harmonies that harken back to a decade long ago, when kids turned on their FM radios to find the cool new thing. These boys are not indie-rockers thieving from the vaults of the classics – the Explorers Club writes pop songs that sound as authentic as if they had actually just been unearthed for a new Nuggets collection or Sundazed reissue. The band draws on the soul-satisfying vocal style made famous by the Beach Boys and the Association, and pairs it with arrangements patented by the likes of Phil Spector, the Left Banke and the Zombies. And like their musical heroes, the Explorers Club understands the meaning of a great single. With that in mind, we are pleased to share “Do You Love Me” – the first jewel from their forthcoming album, Freedom Wind. “Do You Love Me” dabbles in Brian Wilson-esque majestic pop, while the exclusive B-side, “Carry Me” has flourishes of doo-wop and soul amidst its choral pop.