Listen to this track, a Brian Wilson-meets-the-Turtles pop creation from classic Scottish pop outfit The Pearlfishers. It’s the sunshiny summer anthem “We’re Gonna Save The Summer” as taken from the 1999 album The Young Picnickers.
In the 90s, it seemed that Scotland was the place to be for sun-soaked, Californian pop hearkening back to the mid-to- late-60s. Between Teenage Fanclub, the Cosmic Rough Riders, Mull Historical Society, and this band, the Pearlfishers, you’d never guess that this resurgence of melodically emphatic pop was being made in a region of the world where it rains so much. Maybe it’s the rain that inspires the imagination to write songs about sunshine, and about chasing away ‘all of the dark clouds’, metaphorical and otherwise. It’s just a theory, and one from someone who lives in Vancouver, too.
This strain of pop music evokes a sort of mythical sonic world where Bacharach/David reign supreme, and Jimmy Webb, The Turtles, the Beach Boys, and the Association serve as courtiers. By the 90s, it had captured the imaginations, and ignited the talents of pop bands in Northern Britain, complete with a handle on presentation, and arrangement clearly aligned to it. This is a big sound, lushly utilizing pop instruments, shimmering vibes, and lots of gently interlocked and gauzily rendered harmony vocals, complete with Wilsonesque ba-ba-bup-ah’s.
With this tune, it seems that a certain sense of self-awareness is at work here. And yet this song isn’t a pastiche or a parody. This song, and other songs on the record off of which it comes, contains lyrical contrast that demonstrates dimension and artistic depth. But, on another level, a listener can experience this tune at face value, too; as the sound of summer itself, and one that never ends. It is pure pop music anyway you slice it.
The 90s emptied out into the 2000s, and the pop landscape as a rule got a little less sunny, tonally speaking it seems to me. Yet, the Pernice Brothers, Richard Hawley, and many others on either side of the pond took up this same musical mission as the Pearlfishers. In this pop music world, it feels like the summer could actually be saved, just by singing about it, even if those dark clouds are referenced just as often.
To find out more about the Pearlfishers, head on over to the Pearlfishers MySpace page to see that this tune is only one of many that will brighten your day.