Rolling Stone has recently reported that Brian is apparently working up a storm in the studio, and the results could yield as many as three new albums. How realistic a possibility it is that we’ll get three albums any time soon is debatable. As Rolling Stone tells it, Brian is working on a “pop” album (meaning a “regular” Brian album) which would presumably include his collaborations with Al Jardine and David Marks (among presumably others). Also in the offing is an album of largely instrumentals with guitarist Jeff Beck. This could well be the most off-beat, intriguing project Brian has worked on in ages if it comes to fruition. Finally, as the article describes it, Brian’s “suite” of songs (which may or may not be the same “suite” that Brian and Joe Thomas poached songs from for the Beach Boys’ album last year) could make up a third album.
Outside of a new Beach Boys album and tour, this is the most exciting news we could have hoped for. Brian could potentially give us a “new” album of “regular/classic/whatever you want to call it” rock/pop songs that could potentially feature Al Jardine more prominently than last year’s actual Beach Boys album (more on that a bit later), as well as a more progressive, cutting-edge project with Jeff Beck (who has, perhaps more than any other “heavyweight” guitarist from the classic rock era, managed to continue to be progressive and garner rave reviews), and many Brian Wilson Nerd-Fans’ wet dream come to life of this mystical “suite” that some are convinced is “Smile II” in terms of potential quality. I just hope it has good tunes on it. That’s enough for me. Brian doesn’t have to be “modular” in his recordings, but if he is and the “modules” are good, then awesome!
The article's description of done of the tracks is quite intriguing:
At Los Angeles' Ocean Way studios the next day, Wilson and his bandleader, Jeffrey Foskett, spend the morning cutting vocals, then Wilson guides two band members – Scott Bennett and Probyn Gregory – through vibes and French-horn parts for one of the Beck tracks. Over a lunch of takeout chicken tacos, Wilson plays back a dozen unfinished songs, including an unnamed Motown-like organ jam; the lush pop tracks "Right Time" (featuring a superb Jardine vocal) and "Guess You Had To Be There," which recounts wild nights in the 1960s at the L.A. club the Troubador; and a heavy jam with Beck called "Metropolis" that sounds like prof surf music.
The most exciting track features Beck picking a 12-string electric guitar over a haunting "ooh-na-na" vocal line from Jardine, bathed in layers of Wilson's vocal harmonies. It may be the spookiest song he's ever recorded. "Jeff showed up in the studio and we just got it going – it was a natural thing," says Wilson. "I think we're doing to be doing a lot together."
Sometimes descriptions of music can vary wildly from the end result, to some listeners anyway. So while I take these descriptions with a grain of salt, they sound promising.
Meanwhile, the time table for such releases is up in the air. Brian is going to do his hand full of dates with Al and David in July, so we won’t have any new album out by then (though an airing of bits of Brian’s new recordings seems likely). Jeff Beck is joining the “BAD” (Brian/Al/David) lineup as an opener for their October date at the Hollywood Bowl, and will apparently also appear during part of their set, so hopefully that bodes well for the possibility of an album being out by then and also more tour dates booked.