Pet Sounds is considered to some to be the "Holy Grail" of Indie Rock. It's the album that inspired The Beatles before they recorded Sgt. Peppers and Paul McCartney has often expressed how beautiful the songs on Pet Sounds are. Needless to say it's an awe-inspiring record and it takes a talented bunch to attempt to re-create the harmonies, the orchestration and overall charm that Pet Sounds has. Mint 400 Records hopes that they accomplish this with the talented group of bands they've assembled to pull off this re-creation.
"I think that Pet Sounds is an important record that every musician should own and hopefully Mint 400's covers of this record get some young people to check out this tremendous accomplishment that the Beach Boys pulled off in a time when everything else was very bubble gum pop and simple" says label founder Neil Sabatino who initiated the project. "I wanted to do something different then other labels who do the same stupid tribute albums over and over again. I mean, how many tributes to The Cure do we really need. Also I thought that something as complex as The Beach Boys Pet Sounds would give my artists the opportunity to shine. Yes some of these songs have been covered alot but not as a whole record with a label roster of 60's inspired musicians, so hopefully this tribute is a special one. As well I feel the journey of covering The Beach Boys is a trip worth taking for all the musicians on our label, it can only make you better. There's very few albums that you can say are possibly the greatest record of all time. "
All of the bands chose different ways to represent their tracks and some bands appear on as many as three tracks. First up The Duke Of Norfolk from Tulsa, Oklahoma covers "Wouldn't It Be Nice" with soft delicate vocals over acoustic guitar, piano and banjo and it almost sounds more like a Nick Drake cover rather then The Beach Boys. The Duke Of Norfolk (aka. Adam Howard) also tackles "Caroline No" in similar fashion and gives a very loungey feel to his version of the instrumental "Pet Sounds". Label owner Neil Sabatino and his band Fairmont as well appear on three tracks giving their indie rock spin on "God Only Knows" & "You Still Believe In Me" while giving a more subdued version of the instrumental "Let's Go Away For Awhile". Fairmont manages to keep all the harmonies and instrumentation of the originals but with an upbeat tempo and lo-fi indie rock feel. The One & Nines, a throwback 60's Motown act from Jersey City, pull off versions of "I'm Waiting For The Day" & "Here Today" that are true to the original tracks with lush vocals and a full horn section. The One & Nines represent the purists on Mint 400 recording everything they do to tape and refraining from making the leap to digital era of audio recording and it pays off big with their pure vintage sound.
Classic New Jersey Indie Scene bands The Multi-Purpose Solution and Cropduster pull off amazing renditions of "Sloop John B" and "That's Not Me". Initially two bands that are hard to hear how on Earth they could pull off these covers but they do and it's pretty interesting. Especially The Multi-Purpose Solution who are known for their piercing guitars and guttural vocals present a version of "Sloop John B" that is very exact to the original, you can even line up the tracks and play them at the same time. Sabatino, who produced a handful of tracks on this comp, used a technique where certain songs were tracked right up against the originals which is the case for "Sloop John B" and "Let's Go Away For Awhile". Rounding out the recording is a lo-fi gem from The Ashes "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" and weirder Flaming Lips version of "I Know There's An Answer" performed with synth and piano. Finally, member Michael Ambrose of the Mint 400 band Les Trois Chaud performs a lovely solo almost 1920-ish version of "Don't Talk" performed with smooth organ and bells. Overall these artists all give their best Beach Boys impression and come up with a wide variety of sounds that are sure to make you fall in love with this talented roster of musicians.