A Summer Anthem
Best Coast’s newest album covers familiar territory – its songs take on tried and true themes of love (unrequited, of course), loss, and longing. But perhaps this territory is all too familiar, and the cliches about young love and soul-searching fall a little flat.
The album starts off strong with the delightful “The Only Place,” an anthem to sun-drenched summer days by the sea. Its energy carries on through the album, lending itself to the simple guitar melody on “My Life” and the heavily layered vocal harmomies on “How They Want Me to Be.” Best Coast even manages to make its ballads sound peppy: “Last Year,” a song about losing faith and developing a nihilistic outlook, still sounds happy, somehow.
The secret might be in the vocals and the relative simplicity of Best Coast’s music, in the harmonious arrangements of guitar and keys, in the warm melodies and captivating vocals. It’s the singing and simplicity more than anything else that ties together the band’s songs. “Better Girl” and “No One Like You” show this best; the folksy-country guitar riff of “Better Girl” blend perfectly with the rich vocal alto in one of the album’s catchiest tunes. The heavy percussion and bluesy, retro -pop of “No One Like You” gives the album a 60s feeling right out of Motown.
While Best Coast sometimes falls into lyrical cliches, the band succeeds in creating an album that’s entirely enjoyable to listen to – and that’s no small feat.