Earlier this summer, the Beach Boys released a new album and reestablished the band’s sunny aesthetic after 15 years, with melodies that emphasize patience and harmonies that can solve any of life’s problems.
The Beachwood Sparks claim a corner of this Southern California world, and though beloved on a much smaller scale, the cosmic country-pop outfit also returns after an extended hiatus with “The Tarnished Gold.”
“It’s time to stop pretending, those days are gone,” sings the band on album-opener “Forget the Song.” It’s a tone-setter, as these 13 songs waft between nostalgia and realism and unfold at a stroll’s pace. “Alone Together” isn’t so much about loneliness as it is about learning the comfort of solitude, complete with a woozy harmonica laced around strumming that owns a wind chime twinkle. Slide guitars here are a psychedelic instrument, and the laid-back pace, including the Spanish reverie “No Queremos Oro,” invoke a romanticized vision of a back-porch Laurel Canyon party.
The casual mood of the album, in fact, has the feel of walking into a late-night jam session. There’s a “this goes out to my good friend” dedication at the start of crooner “Sparks Fly Again,” a song right in the band’s Crosby, Stills & Nash/Poco wheelhouse, and elements of nature work their way into “Talk About Lonesome.” The whole of “Tarnished Gold” is an ode to voices growing older, in unison.