Sunday, 26 July 2015

The Wrecking Crew: NZFF Review

The Wrecking Crew: NZFF Review

Thanks to recent Brian Wilson film Love And Mercy (well worth a look), the Wrecking Crew are somewhat at the forefront of our cinematic consciousness.

The group of session players helped the Beach Boys (as well as others) to define their sonic landscape and helped the musical sequences in the flick to really shine.

But to be honest, their time in the spotlight has been somewhat obscured and for many, their musical contribution overlooked.

However, Denny Tedesco's legacy doco will change all that - and rightly so.

Tedesco is the son of Teddy Tedesco, one of the Wrecking Crew group from the start. Along with the likes of Hal Blaine, Earl Palmer and Carol Kaye, it's probably a name you don't know - but I can guarantee you they're responsible for a sound you'll know.

From the Byrds to the Beach boys, Sonny and Cher to the Mamas and Papas, this lively doco charts the course of their influence and shows you how wide their involvement was. Gathering together some of the surviving members and placing them at what appears to be a poker table, it sets the scene for the anecdotes to fall easily from their lips. Mixing in archival footage and of course the sounds of the music, the genial The Wrecking Crew finally gives the unsung heroes the spotlight they so richly deserve.

For Tedesco himself, it's true to say that he has his personal ambitions for the piece, but to his credit, he never once loses sight of the rest of the members of the group and their valuable cultural contribution.

Occasionally, the piece feels a little long, especially in its final furlong as it gives "reprises" to some characters, but sensibly, Tedesco injects these final portions with heart and humour to get us over the line. It would have been nice to hear a little more from family members of the Crew to get more insight, but the musicians themselves aren't exactly shy about not coming forward on the effects of the long hours and the grind.

Ultimately The Wrecking Crew will appeal most to musicians, but thanks to the fact that everything they sonically touched was magic and that Tedesco's crafted something loving that gives the true stars the spotlight they so richly deserved.

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