MIND IF WE MAKE LOVE TO YOU - The Wondermints (Rev-Ola)
Breezy California pop in the vein of the Beach Boys has been sorely missed in the post-Woodstock apocalypse, but not for lack of promises. In the past 10 years or so, there’s been an upswing in albums billed as “Brian Wilson-inspired,” but what they had in inspiration they usually lacked in quality.

The Wondermints’ latest, “Mind If We Make Love to You”, is an exception to the rule. Having toured with Wilson, the band seems to have absorbed his flair for melodic songcraft that’s softer than an ocean breeze on a sunny day, yet never suggests sugarcoated commercialism. In a throwback to the Sunflower album, “Another Way” moves steadily with a gorgeous piano lick and memorable harmonies, while the refrains of “taking me higher” from “Sweetness” recall the late ’60s Beach Boys at their best. And in another Southern California move, “Out of Mind” soars with the kind of chorus that used to land the Association on the charts. “Something I Knew” takes still another path, sounding like the ’70s followup to “Sail On, Sailor” that Hawthorne’s finest never recorded.

Without quite reaching the level of the highlights, the remainder of the album maintains a groovy Wilson vibe in its subtly derivative way. But hey, if you can be derivative with your own slant (don’t misunderstand: these guys are not copycats) and write a couple great songs to boot, why not?

To put it in I-94 Bar terms: This does for the Beach Boys what Radio Birdman does for the Stooges and the MC5. No wonder Brian himself endorsed it by doing background vocals on two cuts.
-Doug Sheppard