Remember that old Saturday Night Live where Chris Farley is playing motivational speaker Matt Foley? At one point during the skit, he lifts his glasses up and down on his face and says, “I can’t see real good¦Is that Bill Shakespeare over there?” I did the same thing when Charleston, SC septet The Explorers Club came through Shirk’s studio for a live session a few weeks ago, except I was wearing sunglasses and I thought I was seeing The Beach Boys. I love The Beach Boys.
I’m a sucker for happy tunes that make you bob your head from side-to-side – ear to shoulder, ear to shoulder. The Explorers Club makes me perform this move uncontrollably and without refrain. They play the type of music that makes me want to coat my nose with zinc oxide sunscreen, play a few hours of Pro Kadima, and shotgun a can of Sunkist.
I walked into the studio to meet Woody and Shirk just before the guys from The Explorers Club showed up, not real familiar with their sound. Shirk had 5 microphones set up, and I thought there was a chance Woody and I may join in for some harmonizing. My dreams were dashed when I found out 5 of the 7 guys in the band actually sing, creating beautiful harmonies that give The Explorers Club its signature sound. Lead singer Jason Brewer has a syrupy, Brian Wilson-like voice that flows over the wall of sound that the rest of the band creates. It’s a thing of beauty to hear the voices and bevy of guitars come together to form their bright, full sound.
With songs like “Hold Me Tight,” “Lost My Head,” “If You Go,” “Don’t Forget the Sun,” and “Forever,” you’d think you found a Delorean and drove it 88mph to California and arrived in 1966. The raw, stripped down versions of these songs feel as pure as the golden sand. So go ahead, download the tracks below. Turn up your heat to about 89 degrees, throw on your board shorts, make yourself a Tang and vodka, put a DVR’d episode of “The Wonder Years” on mute, and crank up The Explorers Club.