Friday, 30 July 2010

Best Coast - Crazy For You (Wichita)

Stark, dark and clad in attitude, Best Coast are a musical tour-de-force of US West Coasters with the sort of style and emotion that makes me long for a non-existent 1950s grunge movement. Consisting of (the beautiful) Bethany Cosentino and (the super-hero like) Bobb Bruno, they sound like the kind of band you could hang around with all day, every day, on sunny, hazy summer shifts of sheer good fortune and good times. The strength lies in the musical emotional one-two punch of goodwill and sun-drenched joy that carries itself over track-to-track, paired with relatively simple yet sweet lyrical structures.

Whilst the lyrical content may be reasonably undemanding in terms of cerebral understanding, they contain something very important that is often missing from the vast glut of songs on love and youth, specifically heart and honesty. Bethany Cosentino oozes sincerity, via lyrics on the likes of ‘The End’ where she purrs ‘Why do we have to make this hard when it doesn’t have to be’, evoking a million heartbreaks the world over in one fell swoop. She later croons “There’s something about the summer” on ‘Summer Mood’ and there truly is when the words drip from the mouth and mind of Cosentino. Everything here is just so potent in its purity.

Somehow, somewhere around the middle of the record, it begins to feel like one big extended jam session between your best friends in some dank yet homely garage, where you sit atop a dusty couch taking hits from the cat shaped bong sitting before you, as the clock melts away and you fall in love with life (I think I might just crave this kind of lifestyle now).

It all sounds like someone has come along and given the Wall of Sound, Phil Spector’s innovative and mindblowing production technique, a kick into the 21st century via weed, Los Angeles and a smidgen more scuzz. The emotive core and heart of much of Spector’s girl group content remains, in the tales of heartbreak, love and lust, albeit with a modern re-telling. ‘Boyfriend’, the wondrous opening track, should have been an uncovered 60s 7” discovered under layers of madness in the locked basement of Spector’s mansion, crafted by some great, lost, droning girl group. The record clocks in at around half an hour with no single song breaking the hallowed three minute barrier, keeping the chilled vibe of surfer pop and carefully contained carelessness in check.

The muffled sonic effect is very much in vogue for the 2010 summer season but Best Coast tops the pile of hazy, lazy pop rock (even stealing the drummer from Vivian Girls, a rival and strong contender for the lo-fi-fuzz crown). The effortless sensation that sweeps through the record like a stoned hurricane soaks up such an atmosphere, it becomes nigh impossible to not enjoy this stuff.

Ever since the Beach Boys, a strange mythology has developed regarding the coastline to the West of the US of A. Beach parties, surfing, pointless days spent lying on golden sands and a laid back attitude impossible anywhere else in the world. This is enclosed within the contents of Crazy For You, even if the stereotype gets a kick up the proverbial backside thanks to weed, guitar fuzz and the modern sexual outlook. At the end of 13 short, sharp, modern pop songs, she certainly does make a bloody good case for a quick and impulsive move to Los Angeles. Give it a listen and I’m off to check one-way airline prices for the golden coast…

Words : Adam Parker

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