Best Coast - The Only Place
If you aren’t listening to Best Coast on a California beach or at a weed-ridden summer music festival, you’re doing it wrong. And their much-awaited second LP, “The Only Place”, is a serious testimony to that theory.
Lead singer/guitarist Bethany Cosentino has grown to be a cult figure in the contemporary indie rock scene for her warm, enchanting sun-dried tunes on the group’s debut LP, “Crazy for You”. With her overly simple yet gratifying lyricism, Cosentino ended up capitalizing on a specific demographic within the indie crowd of similar emotional proportions, becoming something of a small-time goddess for distraught post-modern youngsters. The real catch, however, was if Cosentino’s lyrics were taken out and placed in a less interesting surrounding, it would match the lyrical quality of ‘Top 40’ pop fodder.
It seems that Best Coast doesn’t have much to progress or evolve from considering their music succeeds exclusively their ability to emulate a certain place and feeling, as an organic product of their own environment. But the golden thread to their music comes from sheer artistic and human honesty, which is the only thing “The Only Place” has going for itself. It’s clear that Costantino has cleaned up her act: she’s off the couch, she doesn’t seem to be constantly smoking pot and her romantic affairs aren’t constituted by desperation and sweet-heartedness. Hence, her sound has changed accordingly. Gone is the lo-fi surf rock warmth and eagerness, instead “The Only Place” is like the sonic equivalent of a gross overcast over a formerly gorgeous beach. Best Coast’s change of direction managed to kill both of their best birds with the one proverbial stone: their lyricism and it’s musical context.
“The Only Place” won’t particularly offend or reveal any hidden layers, despite any number of listens. It’s a pretty superficial record. And even if Best Coast’s fan base will slightly disperse from this creative transition, they can’t be criticized for striving to make mature music. It was fundamentally inescapable for Best Coast to do an album like this right because it’s a new feeling for both artist and listener. So whether you’ll root for Consentino to start smoking again or to polish her sound up in her new, seasoned adulthood, at least we’ll still have those younger, brighter days.
This album was my senile grandmother. (5/10)
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