New Music//Best Coast
It’s easy to say bands change as they put out new albums. For sparkly, sunny punk pop group Best Coast, this would be incorrect.
The duo’s new album California Nights is typical Bethany Cosentino. In this case, sounding exactly the same as they always have isn’t a bad thing. Best Coast has spurred a summery, candy coated rock subgenre, strongly influencing California bands like Shannon and the Clams and The Aquadolls. California Nights is a sweet, sugary lollipop with a bubblegum center. This should be the album you play all summer long while sipping lemonade in the passenger seat of a convertible.
The first two songs on the album, “Feeling OK” and “Fine Without You” reinforce Best Coast’s usual themes of craving a grimy surfer dude’s attention to no avail and driving down the coast in warm, salty air. The lyrics, which most 17-year-old girls can probably relate to, jockey from one spectrum to the other, expressing juvenile affection that’s unrequited and then transforming to more mature themes like suffering from insomnia and debilitating self consciousness. Best Coast is slowly moving past the romanticized, childish lyrics, giving a peek at deeper and darker life obstacles like debilitating self consciousness, cracked relationships, and suffering from insomnia. They’ve invested in a small change, ditching the old pair of holey Vans for some new ones to wear out.
“California Nights”, the single that was released earlier this year, is actually one of the weak points of the album. Being one of the slower songs on the album, it doesn’t necessarily capture the essence of the rest. Instead of having fun on the beach, it’s a bit boring and more like having your sand castle destroyed by a wave. The lyrics are classic simple Best Coast, but tasty, power pop songs like “Fine Without You” and “Jealousy” really describe how the whole album actually sounds. It has a little stronger percussion, luminous, layered vocals by Cosentino, with deeper lyrics that suggest Best Coast isn’t a sunny, breezy day all the time. Instead of keeping almost all songs under a quick two minutes, most are stretched out to a full three minutes, proving that Best Coast has a little more to say this time around. It’s refreshing and nearly on the same level as previous hit album “Crazy for You”, just grown up. The duo takes on more mature themes but keeps the same, typical, fun and catchy Best Coast sounds. As Cosentino says herself in “When Will I Change, “I’m a big girl now but I don’t feel much older”.