By Colin O’ Neil
Photo by TheArches/Flickr
After two albums, Best Coast still has the tag of fun- and sun-loving garage dance music, and The Only Place is no exception. Songwriter Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno provide a strong sense of place in their sophomore album, and still deliver their familiar California surf-rock melodies and simple, catchy lyrics.
The band’s debut album, Crazy For You, brought recognition from tastemakers Pitchfork and Exclaim!, and its single, “Boyfriend” spread them across the world of indie music. Their newest effort takes up where Crazy For You left off, a perfect summer album for dancing, sitting on the porch, or just feeling glad to reside on the best coast.
The Only Place kicks off with the title track, which epitomizes the Best Coast philosophy. With its quick chord changes and memorable lyrics, it feels like we’ve already heard the song before upon first listen. Its lyrics, like most of Best Coast’s music, take pride in their home and scoff at those who don’t live in sunny California or on the west coast. It’s a song with undeniable radio potential and one that Best Coast probably tired of playing before the album even came out. It’s just that good.
The following tracks don’t reach the same level, but do shine at times. Cosentino’s lyrics are sometimes whiny, but they’re clear, to the point, and are supported by excellent garage rock guitar riffs and simple percussion. “Why I Cry” is a danceable attack at the boys in Cosentino’s life, while “How They Want Me To Be” is like a diary entry, claiming small-time rock stardom as an elite form of living, whether others see it or not.
With only one song over four minutes, The Only Place is a fast listen. It will likely be over while you’re still thinking about the first song and whether or not you should drop your life and move to California. It makes you nod your head and tap your feet; at times it makes you get up and shake it. In both its lyrics and instrumentation, it asks, “Why would you live anywhere else?”