Best Coast - Crazy For You

by Al Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2010-08-02

One of few constant trends in an increasingly diffuse world of indie-pop is a general fondness for the sound of 60s girl groups. The simple template of the girl group, with its four chords and three part harmonies and all that mopey longing is a comforting, but restrictive one; and this Best Coast album is both comforting and constrained.

'Boyfriend' is as simple a teenage lament as has been written in the last 40 years, which is not a criticism. Lines like: "I wish he was my boyfriend/ I'd love him 'til the very end" aren't going to win an Ivor Novello but they are the right lines for a song like this. And the music is really lovely California pop: reedy three note guitar riffs that sound like they're being carried on a desert wind and the most angelic backing "ahhs" you could imagine.

Lyrically, I can't remember hearing such a basic album ever which, again, is not a criticism, although occasionally it seems as if there is a perverse tendency to always choose the most obvious rhyme. For example, the idea that Bethany Cosentino rhymes "crazy" with "lazy", repeatedly, in two separate songs, might be a bit much for some. I don't really mind that, in fact the only time the lyrics annoy me is in 'Goodbye', in which Cosentino wishes her cat could talk and declares that "not even TV or a bag of weed" could make her happy. Such banality seems crude in the company of the songs that surround it. It's a weak link musically too, a slow grungy dirge, like Hole at their most mediocre.

Most of the songs (especially 'Summer Mood' and 'I Want You') sound like The Shangri-Las with a bit (and only a bit) more crunch, which could be seen as derivative but it's done with such beautiful simplicity that it's hard not to just be swept right into each floaty dreamscape. Considering how de rigueur it is to drown everything in fuzz ,it must have been tempting to do the same with these songs, but the decision not to pays off and this is much more satisfying than anything (for example) Vivian Girls have done.

Another brave, and slightly stranger move was leaving off the stellar run of singles that first brought Best Coast our attention (although the great 'When I'm with You' is a bonus track). While most of the songs here are of the same ballpark quality of those singles, songs like 'So Gone' and 'Make You Mine' could only have improved an album that barely breaks the half-hour mark.

I suppose how much you like this album will be dependent on your tolerance for very obvious, unchallenging, albeit well crafted guitar-pop. Personally, I love to hear something as simple and lacking in pretentions as this every once in a while, and Cosentino herself has repeated on several occasions that her only aim was to make a pop album. Whether it's substantial enough to become a lasting favourite is anyone's guess, but as far as this summer goes, it'll take some beating.

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