Friday, October 18, 2013

Album Review: Best Coast's "Fade Away"

Best Coast

       Just a year after the release of The Only Place, Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno have new music ready, a "mini-album" (or EP) titled Fade Away (released through Cosentino's own Jewel City record label). With plans for a new LP next year, this seven track selection of songs about heartbreak portrays Best Coast as a band growing up.

''This Lonely Morning'', the opening track and single (and one of the highlights of the seven-song EP), is most likely her most mainstream friendly single to date. It is definitely more polished in terms of production and lyrics than the adolescent "Boyfriend" or "Crazy for You", but not too polished to be thrown into the increasingly-generic stadium rock that is crossing over into Top 40 and "adult contemporary" radio.

According to a press release, Cosentino was musically inspired by Mazzy Star, Patsy Cline, and My Bloody Valentine. She was also inspired by Ambien. Yes, the same stuff that people use to treat insomnia. Does this mean this record will help you fall asleep? Nope.

The reference to Ms. Cline sounds out of left field, until you hear the track "I Wanna Know", with lyrics that sound like they could have belonged to the country queen's catalog. "Tellin' lies it's a big surprise/Gazing into each other's eyes." And then there is "Baby I'm Crying", which fits perfect in a jukebox to play at a nearly-empty country bar on a dark and lonely night. It would be interesting to hear these tracks covered by a country singer, or at least performed by Best Coast as an acoustic version.

With the exception of "This Lonely Morning", each song on here is at least over three minutes in length. There isn't a rush to throw on speedy guitar riffs and too-easy choruses to complete the song and move on. The best example of the slightly-slower paced Best Coast is on "Fear of My Identity", the best song on Fade Away. The lyrics tell a story about confusion and fear that is both personal ("The hate is getting darker/And the fear is growing larger") and universal ("The fear of my identity/Is standing right in front of me").

Fade Away is more calm, confident, and content with itself than the all-over-the-place and over caffeinated atmosphere of Cosentino's previous work. 

Best Coast 
Fade Away
Jewel City
Grade: B+

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