I once found myself in a hotly debated argument over Rick Nielsen (which happens surprisingly often), who apparently once stated his only aim in music was to be like The Beatles. A friend was incensed with that sentiment and hated Cheap Trick based on that one quote, claiming this made the band incapable of making anything original. I argued that it didn’t matter, and that it was actually somewhat innocent and musically unselfish to want to become your childhood idols. I imagine pretentious pseudo-hipsters like me will have the same argument over South Carolina’s The Explorers Club, a band that can be described quite simply as, “The Beach Boys.” The septet’s debut album, “Freedom Wind,” breaks absolutely no new ground: these are falsetto-laden, dreamy Beach Boys melodies in front of intricate, precise Beach Boys arrangements and gorgeous, multi-layered Beach Boys harmonies, performed with the exact same gusto that Brian Wilson and company pushed out “Friends” or “Pet Sounds.” At first listen, “Freedom Wind” almost feels weird, stemming from the bewilderment that a bunch of guys from Charleston made an album that could fool most Beach Boys diehards into thinking this is some long-lost record recorded between “20/20” and “Sunflower.” But that awkwardness slowly fades, as anything that sounds this Wilson-esque couldn’t stop itself from being pleasant. These guys actually have a guy to sound like Mike Love (is he an asshole, too?), they totally nail the classic “dip dip dip” in the background, and I’m sure their Brian is a mere four years away from growing a three-foot beard and writing a Theremin-centered opera. I, for one, am happy somebody dared to be unoriginal. (Andy Seifert)
February 25 at Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, (773)276-3600, 9:30pm. $8.