Dennis Wilson Pacific Ocean Blue: Legacy Edition

Unavailable and considered a lost masterpiece for 17 years, the late Dennis Wilson’s only solo effort has finally been reissued, remastered and expanded the way every longing fan wanted. Though often regarded as just "the drummer” for the Beach Boys, Dennis was a regular contributor to the band’s catalogue, but he found his calling as a songwriter in the mid-’70s, ironically thanks to older brother Brian’s guidance. Dennis’s substance abuse grew to a serious degree around that time, and his voice became a huskier, almost unrecognisable instrument. However, it’s his vocals that help make Pacific Ocean Blue the work that it is. Well, that and the fact that it sounds as removed from the Beach Boys as a member could possibly get, even with the aquatic fixation intact. Reflecting the turbulent lifestyle, there’s an everlasting sadness within the vision of Wilson and cohort Gregg Jakobson, wrapped in both warmth and despondency. Distressed heartbreakers like "Farewell My Friend” and "Only With You” are amongst coked-out cruising numbers like "Friday Night” and the old fashioned, good-time rock of "What’s Wrong,” which helps present Wilson’s wild cocktail of bluesy trails, uncharacteristic pop ideals and dated psychedelia. But it’s the songwriter’s erratic style that gives Pacific Ocean Blue its heretical superiority and merited timelessness. As much of a treat as the reissue is to consume, the more notable bonus is the inclusion of a second disc containing the never-before-released material from his planned follow-up, Bambu. Subtitled "The Caribou Sessions,” the coherence of the first disc is absent, running through progressive tangents ("Are You Real”), intoxicated, rag-tag rock ("Time For Bed”) and druggy soft rock ("Love Remember Me”) with no real direction. But considering it’s an unfinished work, it’s hardly expected one would appreciate this in the same manner as Pacific Ocean Blue. This should have been as big a deal as his brother’s unveiling of Smile, but that just seems to run with Dennis’s luck, which likely would have sat just fine with him. (Legacy/Sony BMG)