His fellow Beach Boys were shocked when, in 1977, their feckless drummer boy became the first Wilson brother to release a solo album: shocked not just that he had found time in his tomcat-hedonist schedule to write and record it, but that it should be so darn good.
Dennis's cracked, smoke-cured voice, so rarely showcased in the band's pristine vocal blend, turned out to have an appealing, vulnerable quality, and the blend of widescreen production ballads and slick funk grooves gave Pacific Ocean Blue a much firmer grasp of contemporary music styles than The Beach Boys had managed in years.
But there's a satisfying, sly intelligence in the way that Wilson and co-producers Greg Jackobsen and Daryl Dragon incorporate classic Beach Boy tropes – the moody solo horn in "Time", the glorious vocal arrangements throughout – into settings informed by the likes of Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers. It's reissued here for the first time in more than a decade, along with a second disc reconstituting the never-released follow-up Bambu.
Pick of the album:'River Song', 'Farewell My Friend', 'Dreamer', 'Only With You'