The sound of summer has arrived and its utterly joyous and endearing (just ignore the oil on the beach). Best Coast are a surf/pop/gospel group from Los Angeles who comprise the wonderfully named Bethany Cosentino, who writes and records with her great chum Bobb Bruno. They state as their key influences California boys, Connie Francis, Stevie Nicks and cats which is nicely eclectic. Indeed "cats in sun glasses" figure extensively on their blog and the little ginger moogy on the cover of this album could try to look a bit happier (although its true the poor feline is in the water) since this record is one that is destined to put a huge smile on your face.
The band have already put out one of this years great singles "Boyfriend" which you should beat a path down to your local Spillers to appropriate. It is a huge slice of sun kissed pop and near Fleetwood Mac style rock that screams modern classic. Cosentino's vocal is swathed in reverb and she punctuates it with immortal lines of dumped regret. These include the rueful "The other girl is not like me"/ She's prettier and skinnier/ She has a college degree/ I dropped out when I was 17/ If only I could get her out of the picture/ Then he would know how much I want him". It is truly one of the best songs of the year thus far although it may have an equal in "Our Deal" which comes from that classic throwaway pop of the Shirelles with massive "ooh's and aah's" harmonies and the sun blazing in the background and if its not then you can listen to the lovely "When the sun don't shine".
Cosentino does have some similarities in her voice to the great Neko Case and no more is more evident than on one of the albums true highlights "Summer Mood" a beach ballad of the highest order destined to soundtrack summer flings, romance and broken hearts. Only one song on "Crazy for you" breaches the three minute mark (and that's only by 2 seconds) and the while album just about tops thirty minutes. That said the length is perfect packed as it is with no filler or wasted moments. Thus it goes without saying that "The End" is not a cover of Jim Morrison's 12 minute Oedipus complex monster but a roaring pop song with a broad grin and heart warming lyric as is the Vivian Girls style rush of the title track "Crazy for you" (Note - drummer Ali Koehler of the VGs has joined the band). Finally the album finishes with their first single "When Im with you" which sounds like Sonic Youth mixed with Beach boys and brings this delightful and winning debut album to a roaring finish. "Crazy for you" is classic sweet surf pop and completely endearing so much so that you can almost feel the sand between your toes.
on 25 August 2010
Appearing hazily out of the lo-fi community, and now a long way from her Pocahaunted days, Bethany Cosentino has cleaned up her sound and track roster for her debut LP Crazy For You, and it opens an interesting discussion.
There's no doubt she and Bobb Bruno are prolific - they have at least another album's worth of material worth collating and (re)releasing formally and none of it appears on Crazy For You, except for the superlative "When I'm With You", which appears as the bonus track in certain regions.
Other, fuzzier numbers have been omitted entirely. For example, the lingering previous single "Sun Was High (So Was I)" is nowhere to be found, and the likeable, lower-still-fi of "Up All Night" is also absent. And some of Cosentino's cleaner edits have met with the cutting room floor too. There's no room for the short energy blast of the entirely complimentary "Far Away", nor the wholly loveable "Something In The Way". All these snippets ought really to be taken in parallel with Crazy For You because they are part of its evolution, sometimes superior, and would perhaps have given it more backbone.
As justification, it's likely that Cosentino feared these cuts have been subject to over-exposure, thanks to their extended popularity in the blogosphere, and Crazy For You has definitely ousted most traits of Best Coast's lo-fi past, perhaps apart from Bruno's fuzzed-up bass work on "Bratty B". In its place, Cosentino offers straight pop and therefore Crazy For You makes great sense as a commercially viable collection, just that in places it seems to lack the grit that earlier numbers could have provided. See the throwaway closer "Each And Every Day" if you want proof.
This said, and to all of Best Coast's credit, Crazy For You is still great and we are undoubtedly spoilt by Ms. Cosentino's prolificacy. Repeated plays reveal a summery collection of light echo-y pop, but also a near-immaculate one that blows any initial disappointment right out the water.
"Boyfriend" is a lazy jewel with a punch that shouldn't be underestimated, "The End" a surf number driven by summery bass, and "Happy" a silly, giddy little track about nothing much in particular. It's arguably one-dimensional stuff, but it's a cracking dimension nevertheless, one perhaps given a little depth with the darker sounding "Honey" and its droning vocal and ominous drumming.
Best Coast have always mined a 60s girl-group vibe, and this is happily intact for this album release. Its echoes, jangles and hooks play out nicely at various intervals, and noticeably bob smiling to the surface in "Our Deal", shuffling along on one of Phil Spector's own drum patterns. "Goodbye" even comes on like arch-slackers Weezer, as tackled by a latter-day Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and "I Want To" robs Interpol's Carlos Dengler blind with its bass work, only slowing it funereally and adding more girl-group percussion and jangle.
Crazy For You isn't crazy at all as it turns out. Wily Ms. Cosentino has more than made it work.
Advised downloads from Crazy For You: "Boyfriend", "Honey" and "I Want To". Also grab "Sun Was High (So Was I)", "Something In The Way" and "When I'm With You" immediately.
on 18 September 2010
It comes in a "vinyl replica" form. Why can't all CDs come in such a way? I say "Ditch the crystal clear box forever, right NOW!" At barely more than 31 minutes (including a bonus track), this CD packs a punky pop masterpiece. More now than The Like (Release Me), more efficient than Tender Trap (Dansette Dansette), however good were the last efforts by both bands, Best Coast offer you nothing but a good sun-kissed time and don't overstay their welcome. So much so that you are tempted to press the repeat button.
on 25 July 2014
Fantastic album and the sound quality on the vinyl release is pretty good. Not the best I own, but it's by no means the worst. Other than the fact that the vinyl release sold here doesn't include the bonus track "When I'm With You", I don't really have any complaints about it. The music is fuzzy, sundrenched rock n roll from California and that really shows. It really is the perfect soundtrack to a summer, or at least longing for summer in the winter. If you've not listened to the album before, I'd reccomend listening to Crazy for You and Boyfriend, if they're to your tastes, I'd consider picking this up.
on 6 November 2012
A cute girl singing cute songs about love and longing might not be the music that a man in his late-20s should actively seek out and pay for, but in 2010 that's exactly what I did. I first came across Best Coast while flicking through the various MTV variants looking for something of vague interest (I have long given up on that often futile task). A dark-haired girl with a guitar was singing a song about wishing she had a boyfriend, and I was immediately intrigued. The subject matter might be a bit soppy, on the verge of being vomit inducing, but there was something about the naval-gazing lo-fi guitar sound and the nostalgic reverb soaked tones that really struck a chord with me. I should have hated this song, but I didn't.
Crazy for You opens with the aforementioned `Boyfriend', a song that can only be described as perfect pop. Its sound is reminiscent of 1950s girl groups, with sumptuous backing vocals and repeated lyrical lines. What makes this track avoid sounding cheesy and derivative is the guitar work: distorted and spacious; a pop-tinged psychedelic drone at points feeling like Kevin Shields' solo efforts on the Lost in Translation soundtrack with some mean indie hooks thrown in for good measure. The titular `Crazy for You' is pure jangle-pop that is over before it even gets started: a quick verse / chorus / verse / chorus with gorgeous vocals that leave you wanting more. `When the Sun don't Shine' is probably my favourite track on the album, with thundering drums and a vocal melody to die for. `Bratty B' is pure surf-pop brilliance. `Honey' feels like Hole at their most pensive, and is probably one of the most introspective songs on the album. Album-closer `When I'm With You' builds being lazy and dreamy into another honey-dripping slab of pure pop genius.
This album is the sound of lazy summer days, and sunsets over the beach. There are hints of bands like Fleetwood Mac, the Beach Boys, and Sonic Youth, but in ways that are no way derivative, but actually quite satisfying. They seem to be walking the same musical path, in concept at least, as Jesus and Mary Chain in the sense that they take 1950s pop melodies and whack up the distortion.
The vocals on this album are great. There is very little space on the album where Bethany Cosentino's voice isn't prominent. Even in a lot of the instrumental parts, a vocal line is sung. As the smooth vocals wash over you, the angst of teenage romance can be forgiven and actually becomes quite endearing.
on 1 April 2011
Quite simply, I love this album. As you'd probably guess from their name and the cover, it's summery, upbeat, and uplifting. It's truly the perfect soundtrack for any summer.
They're never going to win awards for lyrics ("I love you", "I hate you", "I miss you" pretty much covers all the themes), and the songs are simple 2 minute-long, 3-chord, minimally produced pop songs. But it is charming to the core, and you find yourself singing along after just one listen.
It's poppy, it's punky, it's garage rocky, it's sugary sweet, and it's got a a hefty dose of Phil Spector-esque girl-band influence.
I notice it's now only £4.99. That's not even money! With the summer approaching, buy this now. I doubt this year will produce a better sunny day record.
on 17 July 2011
Hi! This cd is very good. Songs such as 'When I'm With You,' are sooooo coo!! Such a feel good factor to this band, I'm going to see them live soon! Hope you enjoy them as much as me! It's sooooo sunny on this cd, love it, pls listen!
on 23 September 2010
Bought this album after being bombarded by 'Boyfriend' on BBC 6Music until I couldn't get it out of my head. Every other track on the album is more or less identical, only slightly less catchy. A real disappointment. The two stars are because there is still something I vaguely like about the sound, though it may only be that it reminds me of something better (e.g. Sonic Youth). *UPDATE* 6 months on, I have changed this from 2 stars to 4 stars. It's not especially intelligent, innovative or exciting, but there is something really beautiful about this album. It is a heartfelt love letter, sometimes pleading, sometimes despondent but always real, filled with dreamy surf rock vocals and guitars. It took its time, but eventually it won me over completely - Bethany Cosentino has a beautiful voice and her lyrics are simple but evocative, drawn from authentic emotional turmoil. Nice album, Best Coast!
on 22 July 2012
Best Coast maybe in danger of losing their coveted reputation as the only group successfuly managing to translate; soppy pining, weed smoking, half baked lyricism into genuinely powerful art. Their latest album The Only Place suffered an indie backlash early this year and it's got a few people retrospectively thinking Crazy For You wasn't as effortlessy charming as they gave it credit for it 2010. Despite how retrograde this sounds, i can see why some may highlight the unexceptional elements of this album as being somehow more important in 2012. With the band seemingly unable to build on what they achieved here with follow up The Only Place, there's a strong impulse to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
I'm proud to announce i'm still a Best Coaster though, as i'm in love with this amazing album perhaps even more now that im having to defend it's Neo slacker genius to a slew of haters and turncoats. I slightly jest about the extent of my ardency towards Crazy For You, but i do still really enjoy listening to this and for good reasons to. Bethany Costentino's voice is so sweet and honest on here not to mention pitch perfect. Her lyrics are as endearing as they are simple. The rhyming couplets lazy/crazy, prettier/skinnier and low/go have irked some who find them embarrasingly primitive but i just find them open hearted and lacking in pretension.
The music on Crazy For You perfectly complements Costentino's voice to. Emphasising a more lo fi garage pop sound opposed to the overproduced sheen of The Only Place. The catchiness of all of these songs on here make it hard to pick favourites but "I Want you" finds a wonderful balance between Phil Spector's wall of sound pop and The Ramones early punk. And the scrappiness of "Bratty B" and the Nirvanaesque distortion in "Goodbye" make Bethany sound like the most loveable 21st century Riot Grrl. Music this great should never be relegated to the guilty pleasure spot in anyones album collection, so i'm going to blast this a little louder in my flat from now on.
on 16 April 2011
Great feelgood/tragic lovestory album, with catchy guitars and female vocals. NOTE: The album cover format is kind of square, so it's not guaranteed to fit your cd-rack or other cd-storage furniture .