REVIEW: Best Coast – California Nights

2.5 OUT OF 5 NUTS!

bestcoast-californianightsI seriously don’t know about these L.A. bands, you guys. Their music inspires music critics to use phrases like “sun-drenched,” and all that shimmering blue surf can’t be good for them. Take Best Coast for example: Their brand of upbeat pop-punk with vaguely melancholy lyrics went out of fashion in the late 90s. Everyone kind of agreed that we were going to stop wearing long jean shorts and that Blink 182 and bands of their ilk were just going to kind of go away. This was around the time you stopped seeing bright colors in music videos (or music videos at all, depending on your age).

Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno of Best Coast work overtime to perpetually capture the “sunset on the beach vibe,” but it’s really hard to sustain that very specific tone for an entire album. The result, frankly, is a little bit dull in places. The hooks are sharp when they hit, as in the raucous “Heaven Sent,” but the music frequently outpaces the quality of the lyrics, and Cosentino too often goes for the first rhyme that comes into her head (“alone” gets rhymed with “phone”). Throughout California Nights, one gets the sense that Best Coast are persistently, almost violently refusing to change. Cosentino’s detached, wry vocals seem to underscore the idea that this is some kind of “contractual obligation” album, and that nobody was really giving 100%. This reluctance to break from formula makes the whole thing feels like a semi-lazy endeavor from an artist who can be capable of captivating work. Best Coast perfectly captures the feeling of sitting by the ocean as the sun is getting low in the sky and putting on a light jacket. They’ve got that down to a science. But science, as I learned in high school, is boring.

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Release Date: May 5, 2015


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