During 2000-2001, Wondermints cemented their already direct '60s influences by serving as the backing band for Brian Wilson's solo tours, documented on the concert albums Live at the Roxy Theater and Pet Sounds Live. Upon returning, they went into the studio and recorded Mind If We Make Love to You, a record that ably displays some steady gains in musicianship and expertise from playing some of the best pop music of all time in front of audiences all over the world. As on previous records, the band sparkles simply by playing up their influences instead of hiding them. Surprisingly, though, the Beach Boys inspiration apparently came from their early-'70s phase instead of their classic '60s era; "Ride," with backing vocals from Wilson himself, is immediately obvious, featuring a soulful vocal from the Carl Wilson playbook (first bluesy as on "The Trader," later heavenly as on "God Only Knows") and a progression of short "feels" instead of the usual verse-chorus-verse format. Elsewhere, Wondermints again call on spirits of the past — from the Association (for "Out of Mind," on which Curt Boettcher must surely be smiling) to the Zombies ("Shine on Me") to even the Grateful Dead ("Time Has You") — but any hint of a stale sound is saved by gorgeous hooks, clean production, and an over-all beautiful construction. Occasionally the similarities are to fellow latter-day pop savants like Jason Falkner or even the Ocean Blue, but Wondermints ably display all they've learned during their nearly endless summer of touring with the golden boy of '60s pop. -AMG
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