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Almost Summer is the soundtrack album to the film of the same name.

Released in 1978, the Beach Boys were originally asked to provide the soundtrack but were contractually unable to do so, so the majority of the album (apart from the utterly forgettable We Are The Future by High Inergy and She Was A Lady by Fresh) was recorded by a scratch band named Celebration. Put together by Mike Love, the band consisted of Beach Boys backing band members Ed Carter, Ron Altbach (also of King Harvest who had a hit with Dancing In The Moonlight) and Mike Kowalski (who amazingly shows an actual ability to play the drums on this album, something that has been noticeably lacking during his stints with the Beach Boys and with Mike Love's Touring 'Beach Boys') along with jazz musician and occasional BB sideman Charles Lloyd, Gary Griffin of Jan And Dean's backing band The Bel Air Bandits and session players Dave Robinson and Wells Kelly.

Scarily, this album became the most commercially successful Beach Boys side project ever (at least in terms of chart positions). Even more scarily, despite the fact that it's a Mike Love project, there's at least half a good album here, and the rest is filler rather than truly dreadful.

Opener Almost Summer , the title track from the film. A classic Beach Boys feel, albeit too self-referential (this album caught the precise cusp of the time where Love's instinct to become a nostalgia act overruled the Wilson brothers' creative urges), pushed this song into the top 30, no doubt helped by the fact that Brian Wilson and Al Jardine cowrote it with Love. The 'sum-sum-summer' backing vocal part soon became a cliche on 80s BB records, and the lyrics are laughable (a verse about children's ambitions rhymes 'wants to be a nurse' with 'wants to drive a hearse'), but this is a good solid pop song.

Sad Sad Summer, the second track, is one of Love's best ballads. One of his extremely infrequent solo compositions, this has a very nice gentle melody over standard doo-wop chord sequences, and rather incoherent lyrics, but it's up there with Everyone's In Love With You as one of Love's least horrible creations.

Cruisin' is the third and last Love solo composition/lead vocal on the album. A classic uptempo, vaguely R&B track, this would have made an excellent Beach Boys single, and in fact entered their stage act for a while.

Lookin' Good is a fairly bland instrumental by Altbach, which was later rewritten with lyrics by Love and Brian Wilson as She's Got Rhythm on the Beach Boys' MIU Album.

Summer In The City is a note-for-note remake of the Lovin' Spoonful classic, with vocals by Robinson. Presumably the filmmakers couldn't get the rights to use the original, as this is a straight carbon copy.

It's OK is another note for note copy, this time of the Beach Boys' then-recent hit single. Strangely Robinson once again provides lead vocals, even though Love sang lead on the original. This is otherwise almost undistinguishable from the original (on 15 Big Ones) - unsurprisingly since many of the same musicians played on both.

Side 2 has three undistinguished instrumentals by Lloyd and Altbach - Football , Island Girl (not the Al Jardine track from Still Cruisin') and Christine And Bobby, along with the aforementioned Fresh and High Inergy tracks.

Celebration released one more, eponymous, album, after the minor success of this LP, in the vein of the tracks on side one, before giving up and concentrating on their full-time jobs. It's interesting to speculate on what would have happened if Celebration's career had taken off in the way it appeared for one point it might. If Love had left the Beach Boys to make new decent music in the style of the old hits, while the Wilson brothers had been allowed to exercise their artistic ideas without Love's pernicious influence, the music of the band over the last 25 years might have been very different...

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