Unintentional symbolism marks the transition between the two albums featured on this CD. Brian Wilson's inspired and celebratory 'Cool, Cool Water' makes way for Al Jardine's ecologically aware 'Don't Go Near The Water', representing the step from 1960s innocence to 1970s realisation. Both tracks, in this sense, typify the moods of their respective albums. 'Sunflower' is aptly-named, a largely positive collection on which Dennis Wilson asserts his ability to contribute worthwhile material. 'Slip On Through' slots well into the upbeat Beach Boys tradition, 'Got To Know The Woman' is a return to driving rock 'n' roll and 'Forever' is just sweet and delicate. Bruce Johnston adds mature ballads and Brian Wilson, while not supplying anything of the stature of past hit singles, is on good form.
'Surf's Up', despite its darker feel, is lovingly-crafted throughout. Only Mike Love's 'Student Demonstration Time' disappoints. It's based on The Coasters hit, 'Riot In Cell Block No. 9', a song I've never liked. Carl Wilson weighs in with an unexpected gem, 'Feel Flows', and Al Jardine hits a purple patch with his three songs. Yet Brian Wilson's contributions, three songs left until the end, steal the show. 'Til I Die' is a spine-tingler and the title track is a tour de force.
This is the best two-for-one Beach Boys CD available and offers consistent quality, though it doesn't contain any of the band's classic singles.