Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

1. The Beach BoysHolland

Obviously, Pet Sounds is a massive record and a defining influence on me when I was about 12 or 13 when I first heard it; a huge impact. But weirdly, my younger brother told me that he never really got on with Pet Sounds because he found it to be really hard work in the beginning and it took him many years to fall in love with it.

I was really familiar with that throughout my teens, but then later on I discovered The Beach Boys’ ‘Brother Years’, as that period’s known, and I just really loved a lot of that stuff. In hindsight, you knew that this was a band that were, I guess, nearing the end of the road and things were changing and they were veering off. Dennis Wilson had his shit and things ended very tragically for him and Brian, with that well publicised walking disaster and they were really tough times. But Holland doesn’t sound like a record where they’re all struggling or coming to an end or that it’s a swansong; it doesn’t really feel like that and it still has that really fresh Beach Boys approach. I get this warmth from it and it feels like a big hug. It’s this big, lovely Californian cuddle.

What I gravitate to here are the musical changes which are almost like scene changes. You’ve got stuff like ‘The Trader’ where the second half just goes to another place and that’s always inspiring. Of course they’re not the only band that does that but it’s something that’s very inspiring to me, especially on this record. And it’s like that on Matador where I’m not constrained by the typical pop structure of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-middle eight-double chorus and The Beach Boys are always brilliant for that where they take you off in a completely different direction. And it never feels as if it’s self-indulgent, weirdly, when it should be because all of these tracks are so good and so technically proficient. You almost wouldn’t forgive them for those self-indulgent touches were it not for the fact that these are guys on top of their game and you can really hear it.

It’s a great album. I’ve got my record collection in the studio and my main record player is out in the studio’s kitchen and that’s where I’ve got my box of select records. It always changes from week to week and Holland‘s been there for about four months now. There’s always a good time for it.

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