Wondermints - Mind If We Make Love To You
The brilliantly titled album Mind If We Make Love To You is the fourth album from Wondermints, and yet many of you will be thinking it’s their first. Indeed, many of you have probably only heard of them recently through their association with Brian Wilson, as they served as his touring band and helped bring mythical lost Beach Boys album SMiLE triumphantly back to the stage. If Brian Wilson was king of Californian-pop-harmonies, then the Wondermints are his natural heirs, and it’s refreshing to see two generations of the same sound collaborating so sweetly. So, in the small amount of time the band had spare from touring the world as Wilson’s backing band, the Wondermints created Mind If We Make Love To You, a warm collection of sunshine pop that further raises their stock in the genre once owned universally by Wilson and his fellow Beach Boys. They have a sound that sounds a nice fusion of Ben Folds Five, Joe Pernice and Wilson himself. Turning everything on its head, Wilson even sings backing vocals on two of the songs of the album.
Like its title suggests, the album is a slow-burning ode to gentle seductiveness. Songs are chock-full of genre motifs, ranging from jingly-jangly guitars to multi-chorused “ba-da-ba’s”. If it wasn’t for the polished sheen that today’s recording technology brings, you’d think Mind If We Make Love To You was released in the late-sixties. Opener On The Run commences subtly enough, and yet finishes with a shattering crescendo upon conclusion, to the extent in which follow-up Ride reduces the tempo to a calmer pace. Shine On Me has a fine chorus, but its only when you reach the mid-way point of the album that songs take a more interesting turn. Project 11 has a laid-back groove to its demeanour, whilst Out Of Mind packs with it so many delicious psychedelic-sixties trappings that it belongs in either Barbarella or an Austin Powers film (not surprising considering the Wondermints once recorded a theme for the first movie).
Sweetness is still sunshine-tinged, but has an after-hours feel that renders it arguably the best song on Mind If We Make Love To You. Something I Knew has a sprightly feel, with a deeply infectious vocal, and Listen could easily have been culled from Ben Folds Five’s The Unauthorised Biography of Reinhold Messner. Closer So Nice is so SMiLE-like in its approach that it’s no wonder Brian Wilson contributes backing vocals. It’s clear that the Wondermints can absorb so many of their influences and still release a somewhat unique sound overall. The two bonus tracks contained on this Rev-Ola reissue are mere afterthoughts, although it’s nice to hear an instrumental version of Ride.
Whether you are an old-school or a new-school fan of Brian Wilson and all things Beach Boys, then Mind If I Make Love To You by the Wondermints is the quintessential album to carry on the legacy. Brian Wilson has already passed on the baton by enlisting them as his touring band, so what further recommendation do you need?
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