Posted by: Jeff | August 5, 2010

Album Review: Best Coast – Crazy For You

I’m a bit late on this review, but Best Coast’s debut LP, Crazy For You, finally came out on July 27.  It’s a solid debut, and lives up to the somewhat elevated hype for this young band.  Much has been written about frontwoman Bethany Consentino – though not as much as about her cat, Snacks – and one may find her musical cred surprising given that she is so young (she idolized Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley… when she was a teenager!) and releasing her first record on a major label with her former babysitter.

Though young and relatively unproven, Cosentino delivers a wonderful debut record that is rich in texture and surprisingly intimate.  A smattering of singles preceding the full album hinted that Best Coast might be a run of the mill psychedelic beach band playing odes to marijuana and surfing and forgoing any real lyrical content.  While the album remains solidly in sunny beach territory, it is an evolutionary leap forward in song-writing, offering personal ruminations over well-crafted psych-pop.

This arc makes it no surprise that Cosentino’s early band projects were in drone and psychedelic rock.  There is still a thick layer of fuzz over Best Coast’s pop renderings, but it feels less foggy and sinister and more like the haze on a hot summer day.  Many Best Coast tracks feel like they could fit well on a Raveonettes album, with pop hooks and catchy lyrics laid over a thick layer of fuzzy retro guitar twang.  However, unlike the Raveonettes, the fuzz on Crazy For You feels as if it was left out in the sun for too long, giving the whole record a slower, more intimate feel.

Best Coast is situated within the reemergence of beach bands putting a post-rock spin on the Beach Boys (e.g. Wavves, Surfer Blood), but this album is differentiated by previous efforts by the bare feeling that Cosentino puts into her lyrics.  Though clever writing is not her forte (repetition, on the other hand, may well be), the straightforward way she sings about her feelings is refreshing.  There isn’t a lot of inspiration in the lyric “I want you… so much” on ‘I Want To’, but the way in which it is sung makes the sentiment that much more earnest.  And perhaps naive.

One of the interesting facets of this album is how idealized so much of Cosentino’s lyrics are. When she sings on a late album highlight, ‘Each and Every Day’ “I wish that we could go back to when we were 17/I wouldn’t, wouldn’t, wouldn’t, wouldn’t, wouldn’t have been so mean”, two things strike you – first, Cosentino clearly struggles with the idea of growing up.  Relationships get harder as they grow more serious, and you get the sense on this record that Cosentino misses the simplicity of youthful summer days on the beach.  Second, the idea that she is singing about a guy she knew when she was 17 just serves to confirm how young she is, and how much she has yet to learn.

This is a young album, clearly written by a young woman still in the process of growing up.  But this is one of the most endearing aspects of the album.  Best Coast have managed to make an album that draws from serious, adult musical influences to convey a stubborn resistance to adulthood itself.  The hazy fuzz, naive lyrics, and overall summery tone make this a nostalgic album, and in that way it is a deeply enjoyable listen that deserves a lot of plays so long as the weather is hot and the sun is shining.  After all, don’t we all wish we could go back to when summer was synonymous with lazing around?

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  1. […] I reviewed this album, I wrote: “Many Best Coast tracks feel like they could fit well on a Raveonettes album, with […]


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