[POP REHAB] It took some time to rehabilitate Smiley Smile. The Beach Boys’ lackluster 1967 follow-up to Pet Sounds and remnant of the aborted Smile sessions was recorded in Brian Wilson’s mansion during a fit of insanity and without Smile
collaborator Van Dyke Parks. Slowly, though, it has been recast as a
self-administered test of aesthetic maturity. I’ve long thought Smiley Smile the worst thing in the Beach Boys’ catalog prior to Carl and the Passions—“So Tough.”
Obviously, the Tender Loving Empire folks feel differently, which is
why we have this album, featuring a dozen Portland artists covering Smiley in its entirety. But Portland Smiles,
to its credit, is not a faithful re-creation. Rather, refreshingly
hi-fi tracks, like Colin Jenkins’ oovy-groovy version of “Heroes and
Villains” and Radiation City’s sparse, hammock-on-a-screened-porch take
on “Little Pad,” spotlight the better angels of the original, playing up
their harmonic flourishes. Only one song didn’t do anything to make me
consider its father in better light: Adam Brock’s overly earnest go at
the unimpeachable “Good Vibrations.” Someone had to try, I suppose.
SEE IT: The Portland Smiles release show, featuring Colin Jenkins, New Move, Church of Surf and Adam Brock, is at the Eagles Lodge, 4904 SE Hawthorne Blvd., on Friday, Nov. 15. 7 pm. $5. 21+.