Best Coast / California Nights

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Best Coast is an American rock duo formed in Los Angeles, California in 2009. The band consists of songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Bethany Cosentino and guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno. Cosentino, a former child actress, began writing music as a teenager and was formerly a member of the experimentalist drone group Pocahaunted. After a brief tenure at college in New York City, Cosentino returned to the West Coast and began recording lo-fi demos with Bruno, whom she met in the Los Angeles music scene.

After a string of 7-inch and cassette-only singles, the band signed to Mexican Summer, who issued the band’s debut, Crazy for You, in 2010. Crazy for You became an unexpected commercial success following Internet buzz surrounding the duo. Lewis Pesacov of Fool’s Gold and Foreign Born -produced, engineered and mixed the album. Best Coast added a touring drummer, Ali Koehler of Vivian Girls, and spent much of 2011 on the road for festival appearances and tour dates. Best Coast’s sophomore effort, The Only Place, was released in 2012 and featured a cleaner sound than their previous releases. In 2013, the duo released an EP, Fade Away, and their third studio album, California Nights, was released on May 4, 2015.

California Nights is the third studio album by American indie rock duo Best Coast, released on May 1, 2015 by Harvest Records.It was produced by Wally Gagel, who also produced the duo’s 2013 EP Fade Away.

The band announced the album along with tour dates and the release of a “dreamlike” video directed by Adam Harding for the title track, which also served as the lead single.[On the band’s official website, singer-songwriter Bethany Cosentino described the band’s approach to the making of the album, stating: “In LA, there’s a real darkness that you don’t see unless you know where to look. That’s a theme we very consciously decided to explore and play with when making this record. We related to the idea that things may look or sound fun and upbeat, but they may not actually always be that way.

The Analysis—-

Feeling OK—-Underneath the guitar fuzz, there is a remarkable brightness to be found in the music delivered by Best Coast. Perhaps it is all in the voice…but the musical mood delivers the sunny relaxed West Coast feel as well. This music helps me to fight the Daylight Savings doldrums and look forward to warm beachy days filled with warmth….beer and fun….wonderful.

Fine Without You—-Beginning with a nice fuzzy sound, the sun and the fun permeates the sound despite it all. Bethany has such a pleasant and throwback tone to her voice. You will find it hard sometimes to realize this album was recorded in modern times and not during the beach craze of the 50’s and 60’s. This is exactly what you need on a cold and wintry day.

Heaven Sent—-A warm and huge guitar sound begins the track…the drums kick in and the song is off t a Ramones speed track. The entire feel of the song is so consistent with the rest of the release….despite the songs contents, the sound is always bright and sun drenched. Making me want to bop along in a convertible on a California freeway. Wonderful!

In My Eyes—-Again, fuzzy guitars enter with a remarkable melody playing underneath the sometimes noisy delivery. The guitar lines are bright and shiny…while the underlying bass line makes everything a bit layered in sound. The tambourine and the voice come together to make a fresh and bright sound. I truly love this band…the ability to make you feel good despite tales of lost love and hurt is remarkable.

So Unaware—-A darker sound begins this track but gives way to the lighter feel like the rest of the record. Bethany sing….”it’s always dark by 5 p.m.” Boy, can I relate. The drums on this track are huge…the guitars sharp and crisp….while the bass line gives you that underlying feel that all is not well. What a magical combination this band has built.

When Will I Change—-This song has such a familiar melody line, but I struggle to place it. The vocal is fantastic…with slight overlays and a little echo makes it sound huge. I can feel the urge to be-bop around the room with joy and happiness. I relate to the lyrics….as one who seems stuck in one place…..but the song is not a downer. Despite some intense lyrics…the sound remains sunny and bright.

Jealousy—-This entire release makes me want to listen to Josie Cotton! This track, fairly well known and have had some air play is a bit more sedate and layered in sound. The content is not happy….but somehow you feel happy…with all the ‘sha-la la’s’ going on in the background. How can you not love this?

California Nights—-Swirling in a dark atmospheric way at the onset, the vocals are pushed to the back of the mix and sound a bit processed. Giving me a feel of classic ‘shoe-gaze’ music of the 90’s the pace of this track is slow and drawn out. This is a masterpiece of a song….I love the references to the nights in California….making me want to move TODAY! This is wonderfully constructed…and delivers a feel different than anything thus far on the record.

Fading Fast—-Returning to a brighter feel hat has a slight rock=a-billy feel to it, the vocal enters and the slight voice overlays makes her voice sound so much larger. I wonder how all of this plays live? I love the throwback feel to the song…making me want to bask in the sun and swim in the ocean without a care about cold…bills…love or life. That is why music matters!

Run Through My Head—-Deep in sound and bass driven right from the onset, the sharp tuned guitars enter to brighten things up a bit…but underneath of it all, the bass carries a feeling all of its own. The chorus is contagious and catchy…..the bright guitars never hiding the deeper feel of the song. A nice mix of feelings….I love the brilliance of this band.

Sleep Won’t Ever Come—-With a remarkably familiar melody running through the track as soon as it begins, this is so sedate and sunny. The voice is pure perfection… catch every word….reminding you this is not happy joyous music…but you can’t help but feel happy. This is a remarkable achievement.

Wasted Time—-Ending the release with a layered and melancholy track, the hum that runs through the underbelly of the song leaves you a bit wanting and sad. The deep sound of the song is intense…the almost acoustic guitar leads you on a different path than the majority of the record….but it leaves a wonderful taste in my mouth…it makes me sit back and think.

**** out of 5





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