Review: “Kokomo” by Beach Boys Talk

By David Beard

Sometimes, well, more often than not, a fun bit of escapism is a welcome respite from the daily grind … especially during the hot summer months. It’s hard to argue that summer escapism is the very thing that placed The Beach Boys on the charts over fifty-plus years ago with songs like “Surfin’ USA,” “Warmth Of The Sun,” “I Get Around,” “All Summer Long,” “California Girls,” and “Good Vibrations.” These songs – and others – cemented the group’s status in any pop/rock idiom conversation and remain staples on most summer soundtracks. Another song that fits that m.o. is “Kokomo.” A lot of Beach Boys fans discount “Kokomo” because Brian Wilson doesn’t appear on the recording, but Beach Boys Talk [a show hosted by brothers Greg and Matt Coffey] took their love of the entire Beach Boys catalog and married it together for something that is both fun and special.

The song recording itself illustrates Greg’s musical acumen with the tasteful nods to well-known Beach Boys chestnuts from The Beach Boys’ earlier 1960s hits. There’s an a capella “Our Prayer”-esque intro, a touch of “All Summer Long” xylophone/marimba thrown in, there are sleigh bells, you get the idea. It really is fun, just like those earlier carefree recordings by The Beach Boys. Another nice element of the recording is the guest lead guitar performance from Scott Totten.

The song is done inventively and the video is charming. The pair jauntily plod their way through in a very surrealistic Jan & Dean-like manner, particularly when they sing ‘Defy a little bit of gravity’ while Greg ‘bounces’ a ball on a paddle. Throughout the video these guys have so much fun I found myself smiling ear to ear; they ‘paint,’ Matt juggles … this is exactly the type of tongue-in-cheek playfulness we can all use these days. And, because it sounds as fun as it looks, I find it to be great!

You can listen to the release on Spotify, Apple Music, and all the major streaming platforms. I don’t usually rate songs, but for this fun and inventive version of “Kokomo,” I give it five out of five stars – just for its pure ability to conjure up the feeling of joy. I’m not sure what else these two have cookin’, but I for one would like to see them tackle “Vege-Tables” or “She’s Goin’ Bald.” I wonder if this will inspire Will Brison to come out of retirement. I doubt it, but you never know. Beach Boys Talk is now midway through its third season. Tune in! You never know who might turn up, and after all, they’re ‘brothers’; that should account for something.

©2023 David M. Beard/All Rights Reserved


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Karan Crews

2 months ago

I didn’t care for the original Kokomo. This version has a cool vibe to it. I enjoy listening to it. Way to go Greg and Matt

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