Saturday, May 12, 2012
AP-Review: Best Coast- "The Only Place"
On their 2010 debut Album Crazy For You, Best Coast (front woman/songwriter Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno) were those high school kids who did not go to the Prom (60's style of course) but were content to smoke those funny cigarettes outside while cracking wise on the kids walking into the gymnasium. On this second outing, The Only Place, they are still the same kids but cleaned up, looking fab, crashing the party and catching everyone's eye. The glossy transition from one to another is drastic due to the beautiful production on this record but on some of the songs this beautiful swan approach is not always a good thing. The title song, "The Only Place" sounds a bit like a song that was sanctioned by the California Tourism Board- "Why would you live anywhere else... got the ocean, got the babes, got the sun, got the waves... this is the only place"- the clean production free of any sarcastic edge either musically or vocally doesn't help. The same case is true for "No One Like You". It is a charming slow dance late 50's tear jerker of a song and done so straight up and true to the form, even lyrically, that is lacks emotional weight. Other songs fare much better. The dancy feel of "My Life" juxtaposed with the semi tortured lyrics of a life that (at the moment) might suck so much that you dream of going back to better days- "to go back in time, make what's wrong feel right"- plays well and ends too soon. I, for one, like to wallow in my pain a bit longer. "Last Year" (by Best Coast standards) is a down tempo song, downtrodden and a bit sullen and Bethany Cosentino trades in words for "la di dahs" at the end giving the impression that she doesn't even have the energy to muster out words. For a song that is seemingly stewing in self loathing and depression it hits you in the gut, not hard mind you, but still packs a punch. "Better Girl" has a wonderful swing to it and Bethany has a bitter snarl buried in her pretty vocal performance which gives this song the needed bite. "Do You Love Me Like You Used To" has an almost rockabilly groove and a chorus that sounds live and vital. This is one of my favorite songs on the album. "Let's Go Home" also edges into the rockabilly side of things and Bethany's vocal bed (which sounds like she is harmonizing with herself) sounds incredible. I could actually see Best Coast leaning heavily toward this sound (think an indie rock Louise Burns) with great effect. Hmmm, maybe on the next record.