Exploratory Committee 

Though replete with airy four-part vocals, listless odes to the summer sun and perky instrumentation that blatantly elicits Beach Boys nostalgia, The Explorers Club evoke Cali-pop revival while remaining totally relevant. The sprightly acoustic strums and harmony-clad melodies on their debut Freedom Wind feel much more natural than one would expect from a Charleston, S.C., sextet. If Explorers Club don't live up to their Pet Sounds touchstone as well as they would like—then again, very little can—they do prove that indie music doesn't have to call solely upon Brian Wilson to achieve the delicate blend of '60s psychedelia and unfeigned optimism that The Beach Boys have epitomized for generations since. It's not often that a straight-laced love song wrapped in fluttery strings can sound so sincere yet entirely unaffected. Pumpkin pie haircuts and dimpled smiles rarely feel so real.
Fri., Oct. 24, 2008

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