in Review

Best Coast – The Only Place

With an irresistably sugary sound that relied heavily on pop hooks and teenage infatuation, Best Coast’s 2010 debut Crazy For You was an album that I had a pretty easy time falling for.  That said, Crazy For You was an album that was a little short on depth, and the songs were more or less variations on the same surf-pop sound.  So it’s not that surprising that the second album from this SoCal duo sees the band trying to create something a little more complicated, and stumbling somewhat in the process.

The main complaint against Best Coast has always seemed to be Bethany Cosentino’s naively simplistic lyrics, though as simple as they were, I could never understand how people could accuse her of being insincere.  The Only Place sees Cosentino’s lyrics growing a bit more mature, while retaining an emotional bluntness that I think works for the most part.  However, I just haven’t found these songs very affecting or memorable, and I think a lot of this has to do with the slower ballad-driven approach of the album.  The main draw for me about Best Coast was their undeniably peppy sound, but this attempt at being more introspective, though commendable, grows tiring pretty fast.

Another aspect of the album that I couldn’t quite get behind is the band’s decision to collaborate with producer Jon Brion.  He gives the album a slicker, more mainstream sound which overall left me missing the lo-fi tendencies of Best Coast’s earlier work.  There are still a few songs that retain some of that signature Best Coast charm such as the California-touting “The Only Place” and “Let’s Go Home”, but there are just too few moments like these to make up for the rest of the mediocrity.  Now I can’t say I was expecting huge things out of a second Best Coast album, I just wish they could have provided me with a little more fun in the sun.

Favorite Tracks: “The Only Place”, “Let’s Go Home”, “Up All Night”