Spotlight: Best Coast

the band

The surf-rock trio will be headlining the Make Music Pasadena summer festival this Saturday (free admission, all ages welcome) to continue what has been a stellar year for the laid-back, heartsick indie darlings from California. Their debut album Crazy for You received generous acclaim and was one of the best selling introductions of 2010. The band has just released a live album in accordance with iTunes and will be stopping in Pasadena this weekend to continue their nationwide tour. Follow this link for more information about the festival: http://www.makemusicpasadena.org/program.html

Below is my review of their debut album:

“There’s something about the summer,” croons Best Coast lead singer Bethany Cosentino on “Summer Mood”, the fifth track from their debut LP Crazy for You. Midway through the album, you will probably get the feel about what the rest of the album is about: romantic apathy, how much this one guy really drives her crazy, and marijuana.

Best Coast’s formula certainly isn’t original (think early Ramones with a smattering of sun and a female Joey) and their music will only be inspiring to novice surfers and tween beach rats. Their hooks don’t get any more complicated than a few simple harmonies and some lo-fi distortion, and though some of the best pop music is intrinsically basic, this album begs how elementary songwriting can be today.

Most of the songs are centered on one or two lines of supposed blissful mantras. Sometimes Cosentino is wise in her brevity, as in “Goodbye” when she poignantly points out “my highs are high/my lows are low/and I don’t know which way to go”. Most of the time, unfortunately, her simplicity comes off as dull, like when she makes a crazy/lazy combo on three separate songs. Half the time it seems as if she gives up on lines (honestly, there are words that rhyme with “weed”) and by the time the second half of the album rolls around, it would be wise to ignore the songwriting entirely.

But there is something about this album that makes it so appealing. It’s probably Cosentino’s voice, the saving grace that’s sweet to listen to regardless of the words coming out of it. In a time when artists struggle to make albums with any identity, Crazy for You is doubtless a summer album, and it’s about time we add something to our Beach Boys playlist on our California road trips.

Crazy for You will probably pick up dust in a bookshelf somewhere, but unlike your other forgotten albums, you will actually enjoy this one when you press play ten years later. I like very little about this album, but it’s just so good to listen to, and that drives me crazy. B

the title track:

 

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