THE BEACH BOYS: AN AMERICAN BAND
****/**** Image C+ Sound B+
directed by Malcolm Leo
BRIAN WILSON: "I JUST WASN'T MADE FOR THESE TIMES"
***½/**** Image B Sound B+
directed by Don Was
by Walter Chaw There are a handful of albums indispensable to a comprehensive understanding of the roots of modern music, and The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds"--a sort of Apocalypse Now for band-leader Brian Wilson, a mad compendium of musical fragments (Bach's progressions, The Four Horsemen's harmonies) that cohered into a Spector-esque Wall of Sound sparcity/harmony--is irrefutably among them. Intent on making definitive, album-length statements, spurred on by his obsessive competitiveness with The Beatles ("Rubber Soul" predates "Pet Sounds", and though Paul McCartney cited "Pet Sounds" as a primary influence on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", the release of that album is often blamed for Brian Wilson's nervous breakdown), and sensing the opportunity in 1966 of being at the vanguard of the psychedelic movement with a follow-up album (the never-completed "Smile"), the story of The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson is as operatic and tinged with ironic destiny as an Aeschylean tragedy.