The Beach Boys, Little Deuce Coupe (Mono & Stereo Remaster)

Lenny Kaye

By Lenny Kaye

on 05.18.11 in Reviews

Little Deuce Coupe (Mono & Stereo Remaster)

Beach Boys

California’s auto-motivating culture souped up a custom hot rod craze that supercharged the internal combustion engine, chopped and flamed and metal-flaked its surrounding bodywork, and naugahyded its plush interior. This romantic recasting of a transportational device was as much a part of the Beach Boys universe as the ubiquitous surfboard, and when popping the clutch proved as popular as riding a wave, Brian Wilson quickly put together an album’s worth of fuel-injected ditties in 1963 that celebrated the American garage even before amplifiers and guitars were moved in. Filled with the lingo of auto subculture and motor mechanics, these are windows into what might be called the analog era of gas-engine tinkering, and a time when “cruising” was a teenage sport (see American Graffiti). Along with the hit title track, the flag-waving of “Be True To Your School” and the socket-wrenchings of “Custom Machine” and “Car Crazy Cutie,” can be found one of the most glorious of Beach Boy tributes, “Spirit of America,” which salutes Craig Breedlove’s successful topping of 400 mph at the Bonneville Flats in August, 1963.