Picks and Pans Review: Brian Wilson

updated 09/15/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/15/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

That Lucky Old Sun

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"At 25 I turned out the light," sings the long-lost Beach Boy. "But now I'm back." He is indeed, and if his gifts for melody and vocal harmony are not restored to the majestic heights of old, they're close to it. Even at his goofiest ("Hey, bonita muchacha, don't you know that I want ya?" he warbles in "Mexican Girl"), he charms. And when he sings about his four-decade disappearing act ("Midnight's Another Day") and memories of harmonizing with his two dead brothers ("Southern California"), the beauty is heartbreaking.

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