Fourteen years after driving around the Beltway in my beige 2000 Ford Taurus, yelling along to Good Charlotte’s “Little Things” on DC 101 (don’t hate, celebrate), I somehow found myself in an MTV conference room in Times Square with the Madden Brothers. Joel and Benji were playing their version of Pet Sounds, and we were bonding over Phil Spector (the music, not the man or the hair).
I didn’t see it coming either, but the brothers have entered a new era that’s much more Abbot Kinney than St. Charles Towne Center. Greetings From California finds the boys firmly embedded in their Wall of Sound phase — a two-sided album (remember those!?) with 15 analog tracks produced by Eric Valentine.
And any skeptics who thought the brothers only had angsty bygone rap-rock tracks in them should give the Brian Wilson-inspired “We Are Done” another listen. It’s a pristinely produced protest song masquerading as shimmering surf rock, and it’s a track that jingles, jangles and bursts into a vibrant, sun-soaked summer surprise.