Review: Best Coast

After teasing us all with a series of promising single releases, Californian trio Best Coast have put out their debut album, ‘Crazy For You’. Fronted by cat lover and ’60’s enthusiast Bethany Cosentino, and backed up by her former childhood babysitter Bobb Bruno and drummer Ali Koehler, Best Coast give off a surf-rock, lo-fi buzz and emanate laid-back cool.

Inspired by the girl groups of the late-1950s and ’60s, Cosentino writes lustful, wanton music ‘about weed, my cat and being lazy a lot.’ The first track and most recent single, ‘Boyfriend’, moans on with a rather charming immaturity about an unattainable crush, while ‘Goodbye’ is louder and angrier, berating her lover for his long, neglectful absences. ‘Summer Mood’ is a woozy, grouchy grumble which calls up wasted warm days spent indoors and bored; ‘Our Deal’ is a cry-on-your-best-mate’s-shoulder number with a catchy, beachy vocal hook at the end.

The album’s paranoid flitting between bright-eyed puppy-love and sulky, grudging apologies leaves the listener both captivated and at a loss for what to expect. This is never more apparent than in tracks eight and nine, ‘When The Sun Don’t Shine’ and ‘Bratty B’. The former has Cosentino prostrate, clutching desperately at her lover’s ankles, forever reaffirming her love; the latter is a regretful, brooding lament after a break-up, descending into sullen repetitions of ‘I miss you’ while Bruno jabs out a steady, sombre melody.

The longest track on the LP (a whopping three minutes two seconds) is surely the most artful. ‘Honey’ carefully layers clever harmonies over a muted Bruno and opportunistic drumming from Koehler; the result is a dark, sexy clamour. But yet again, the mood swings drastically to caffeinated hyperactivity, as ‘Happy’ thumps away with rather annoying tachycardia. Two-thirds of ‘Each And Every Day’ is similarly aggravating, taunting the listener with pointless, puerile mockery, but a break in all the leg-pulling brings calm and a cute sing-along verse bubbles forth. The bonus track, ‘When I’m With You’, saves the album from a weak end with a return to the duskier sound of ‘Honey’ combined with classic surf-rock riffs.

Related  Review: Midnight's Children

‘Crazy For You’ is a very accomplished record, although at times the sudden shifts in mood threaten to derail the train. Despite these slight frustrations, it is all the same very listenable; Cosentino’s voice is enchanting, the lyrics simple but memorable, the lo-fi sound amiably old-fashioned. Ultimately, Best Coast resonate with a teenage and immature noise, and threaten to do big things once they’ve grown up a bit.