Friday, February 17, 2012


Splitsville's fourth album is a complete departure from anything the band had previously done. Originally recorded as a four-song EP to be given away as a sort of party favor at the first International Pop Overthrow festival in Los Angeles, the much-expanded The Complete Pet Soul is, as the title implies, a dual tribute to both Pet Sounds and Rubber Soul. On the original EP, the Pet Sounds influence came through more strongly, thanks to the heavily orchestrated feel, but on this full-length version, the orchestral tracks are nicely balanced with several new songs that recall the low-voltage, almost folk-rock sound that predominated on the original U.S. edition of Rubber Soul. Still, the Pet Sounds pastiche tracks are the real standouts simply for being done with such obvious affection and good humor, especially the swooning "Caroline Knows" and the almost Smile-like multi-part mini-operetta "The Love Songs of B. Douglas Wilson," which is the album's high point. Musically, it should have been the album's closing track, but instead, a cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" recorded for the soundtrack of the cheerleading film Bring It On is tacked on at the end. It doesn't quite match the mood of the rest of the album, and it's certainly not a patch on Dionne Warwick's version, so it's an odd, equivocal ending to an otherwise superb album.-AMG
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