In an effort to refocus, The Beach Boys were sent to the Netherlands to record. Brian was in a fragile mental state, obsessively listening to Randy Newman’s masterpiece Sail Away, and his two songs were tacked onto the album later. Like Sunflower, Holland is a successful democratic album with everyone contributing competent material; even Mike Love writes a likeable song in ‘Big Sur’ and the Chaplin and Fataar contribution ‘Leaving This Town’ fits in fine.
Carl contributes the album’s strongest piece, ‘Trader’, but the album would still feel thin without the Brian contributions that bookend it. The opening ‘Sail on Sailor’ sounds slightly atypical, but that’s mainly because of Blondie Chaplin’s lead vocal – otherwise it’s a sophisticated and mature classic. ‘Funky Pretty’ closes the album with another high point, with its energetic harmonies.
Holland is a surprisingly strong last gasp effort from The Beach Boys, and it marks the end of an era; due to the success of the compilation Endless Summer, their next record would be much more nostalgic.