Ever since Best Coast’s 2010 debut, Crazy For You, the band has become an anthem machine for California and the whole of America’s west coast. While living and studying in New York, lead singer Bethany Cosentino was said to have heard ‘California Dreaming’ on the radio and was moved to tears longing for her home state.
When listening to Best Coast, the sunny, beach-like, California-inspired atmosphere in their songs is always apparent. But it is with this approach that Best Coast perhaps lets the listener down because their songs often become sonically predictable and formulaic.
This was certainly true in the latter part of their debut album and especially so on their second album, The Only Place, where the opening song ‘The Only Place’ was phenomenal but was followed by a collection of bland, four-chorded derivatives.
This year’s Fade Away is certainly a step up. It has seven songs with catchy choruses and better structures, and the lyrics are a bit more vibrant as well – Crazy For You had too many songs that repeatedly rearranged the same lyrics. In addition, the album features more distortion and guitar solos, but there is still too little between the songs to make any one stand out. ‘I Don’t Know How’ mixes things up a bit by slowing down the pace, but isn’t a song to be listened to repeatedly owing to the fact that the chorus and verses sound too similar, unfortunately blurring together.
Perhaps this album is more suited for an audience searching for a slight reminder of the last days of summer. If that’s the case, certainly give ‘This Lonely Morning’ or ‘Who Have I Become’ a listen. The fact remains however, that Best Coast fail to live up to similar contemporaries Real Estate or Craft Spells.
These bands take the simplicity of surf rock, keeping its lazy feel, but make it interesting by often creating songs that are more than easy chord progressions accompanied by vocals. Best Coast, in contrast, take the relaxed feel too far. The vocal style is definitely unique and memorable, but with the backing music being so simple and monotonous, the end product is ultimately disappointing.