Surf’s up, bros! Let’s pack up the boombox and hit the sand! Don’t forget to bring that new Best Coast CD! Actually, please do. Unless you want to listen to a solid 25 minutes of reverb-drenched G, C, D songs about summertime, fighting with your boyfriend, and cats. Then by all means, bring it along. This Los Angeles based indie pop outfit released their debut album, “Crazy For You” on July 27, 2010. Just in time for some summer fun! Unfortunately, of the many adjectives I could use to describe this album “fun” would probably not be one of them. “Good” and “original” would be two other noticeable snubs from the list.
While attending Eugene Lang College in New York, founding member Bethany Cosentino came up with the idea for the name “Best Coast” in respect to her deep longing for her sunny west coast home. And so, upon her return, Best Coast was born. Along side her long time companion Bobb (two b’s) Bruno and Ali Koehler, formerly of Vivian Girls, Cosentino set out to record an album of summertime bliss. The LP sports 10 tracks of surfy, glazed over indie pop. With generally simple guitar riffs and an overdose of “oooo’s” and “aaah’s” reminiscent of the Beach Boys, Crazy for You is an underwhelming effort. But before I talk this album to death, it’s only fair that I give you, the reader, a taste of it yourself. So without further adieu, here is a small sample of the debut album.
Although they are few and far between, there are several things that Best Coast did well in making this album. They did a fairly good job of capturing the retro summertime “feel”, keeping everything pretty low-fi and turning up the reverb for an overall murky sound. From a production standpoint, they made the album sound natural enough as it was. There wasn’t a feeling that the low-fi sound they went for was at all forced. In addition, the vocals were very well suited to the songs. Bethany Cosentino’s vocals have that sort of “belting from the chest, but making it seem so easy” sound that reminds me of Cindy Wilson from the B-52′s. All together, the band seems pretty well put together, and they are good at what they do.
To me, this album just sounds flat. If you were to take a glass of Coke, fill it up with a few ice cubes, let those ice cubes melt, and then drink the Coke, that is what this album would taste like. The reverb-induced hazyness of this album can’t hide the fact that, this album, when stripped down to it’s raw self, is boring. I actually caught myself checking to see why there was a 3 second silence in the middle of a song, only to find that it was in fact a new song all together. This album just sounds like one long uninspired mid-summer jam. The lyrics are very repetitive and generally lack anything of substance that would set them apart from any other song. This band is a microcosm of everything that I despise about the indie music scene. They cover up for a clear lack of musical ability and uniqueness by selling themselves as “avant-garde”. Going against the grain is one thing, but in the end, it all comes down to the music.
Crazy For You is a dismal effort to say the least. Although this band has potential, this album was a definite cop-out. The songs are as musically pedestrian as they are lyrically. Best Coast tried so hard to play into the hands of a hungry indie crowd, that they forgot about the most important part; the music. That being said, I look forward to this band’s future work because they have the potential to be successful if they are willing to put in the effort. But unless you want a flat glass of Coke, I would not suggest this album.