Entertainment Weekly (12/1/95, p.74) - "...Pop innocence at its best on an album so sweet it's disarming." - Rating: A-
NME (Magazine) (11/25/95, p.47) - 8 (out of 10) - "...The music--which is superb throughout--is old, barbershop, orchestral; there's a beautiful sense of America before rock and roll here. The whole thing has a sort of sense of peaceful Pacific evening about it....an extraordinarily atmospheric record..."
Personnel: Brian Wilson (vocals); Van Dyke Parks (keyboards); Ira Ingber (guitar, mandolin, programming); Grant Geissman, Fred Tackett, Dennis Budimir, Brian Otto (guitar, mandolin); Terry Schonig (hammered dulcimer); Richard Greene (violin); Tommy Morgan, David McKelvy (harmonica); Dan Savant (trumpet); Lee Sklar, Carl Sealove (bass); Bernie Dresel, Chili "Darryl Francis" Charles (drums, percussion); Robert Odin Greenidge (steel drums); Bruce Donnell, Marvin Saunders, Mike Watts (synthesizer programming); Danny Hutton, Doug Lacy, Donny Gerrard, Carmen Twillie, Arnold McCuller, David Joyce, Bob Joyce, Mona Lisa Young, Johnny Britt, Jules Greene (background vocals); Clementine, Sid Page, Bruce Dukov, Fredric Myrow.
Engineers include: David Appelt, Britt Bacon, Jon Baker.
Brian Wilson enlisted Van Dyke Parks as his collaborator for SMiLE, the follow-up to the Beach Boys' groundbreaking album Pet Sounds. One single, "Heroes and Villains," was released from the sessions and became a hit, but the rest of the album remained on the shelves. Over the years, the legend of SMiLE continued to grow, as bootlegs circulated and selected songs were recorded by the Beach Boys (including "Sail on Sailor," from 1973's Holland). Parks and Wilson didn't work again until 1995, nearly 30 years after the SMiLE sessions. However, the resulting album, Orange Crate Art, isn't quite a collaboration -- it's a collection of Parks songs as sung by Wilson. Van Dyke Parks' approach is intellectual, not instinctual, which means his compositions are complex; similarly, his lyrics are dense and laden with poetic imagery and metaphors. Then again, Orange Crate Art isn't a pop album -- it's a self-conscious work of art. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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