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Friday, April 19, 2013

Mark’s Pick of the Week: The Only Place by Best Coast

            Three things brought this article to existence.  First, I recently suggested to a friend she listen to “Crazy For You,” which is one of my favorite albums.  She liked it, and I told her I loved “Crazy For You” but didn’t care for the follow up.  The second thing to happen was I recently watched this interview with Best Coast and Wavves, and it reminded me how cool both artists are.  I really wished for some new Best Coast, so I figured I’d listen to “The Only Place.” If I remembered correctly it wasn’t awful, just different.  Finally, during the second track “Why I Cry” I found myself moving to the music while Bethany Cosentino sang “You seem to think that you know everything.”  Obviously I don’t think she was talking to me, but it him me that I had been kind of bashing the album a bit for not being what “Crazy For You” was for me.  I’m always advocating giving every album enough time for you to enjoy it, and I snuff one of my favorite artists because it’s a bit different.  As you can see I have seen the error of my ways.
            If you haven’t heard the first album you can click the link above article, and check it out.  It is my by far the album I recommend most, and it also seems to have the best results.  The music is as sunny as it is sincere.  If any album personifies a high school summer by the beach, falling in and out of love, more then this I haven’t found it.   The songs are simple in their composition and lyricism, but they take those few inches and go a long way with it.    I was expecting much of the same from Best Coast on their second album, but what I got was a bit different.
The first LP was a day at the beach album.  You could hear foamy surf, grainy sand, and sun sun sun, in every song.  This album is more of an evening at the boardwalk album.  The beach is still there, but it is more off to the side.  The whole thing seems cleaner, and isn’t bursting with energy.  We here less Ramones and more Beach Boys.  In fact a few of the tracks seem very heavily Beach Boys influenced.  Listen to “How They Want Me To Be” and tell me you don’t hear a bit of “Pet Sounds” era elements.
That isn’t to say we aren’t treated to some beachier tracks.  The title track certainly shows that Best Coast isn’t ready to leave the beach just yet.  It sounds a bit more studio then any of the other tracks on their first release, but the spirit is still the same.  Also “Do You Love Me Like You Used To” has a great chugging guitar part that would be just at home on either LP’s.
To sum up my feelings about this record I would say I still like the songs, but I’m a bit leery about the direction.  I would be more then happy for them to keep making records like this.  However, if they are going to move out of the garage and into the studio some of the elements that made the first album so amazing are going to get left behind.  I think they sound their best when they are as close to the listener as possible where we can hear the imperfections and humanity.  Bethany Cosentino isn’t some pop star, she’s a real person with real problems and regrets.  When you can hear that in her songs they can hit hardest. 
However, tomorrow Best Coast is releasing their new single for record store day.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a link, but it seems like they’re heading back towards the ocean on this release.  If you can get down to your local record store this April 20th definitely get yourself a copy!  Until then I can just put these two releases on repeat.  Also check us out on facebook, where I will defiantly post a link as soon as I have one.

UPDATE: We got Youtube clips of the new single:

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