Best Coast - 'California Nights'

Bethany Cosentino adds coming-of-age introspection to her usual sun-streaked pop-rock on album three

  • Release Date 04 May, 2015
  • Producer Wally Gagel
  • Record Label Harvest
7 / 10
Five years on from ‘Crazy For You’, their weed- and reverb-drenched surf-punk opus, Best Coast have come of age. The dreamy, sun-streaked yearning remains, but the humour that laced Bethany Cosentino’s bratty ennui has gone. ‘California Nights’ is, instead, full of more sobering concerns – medication, heartbreak, insomnia. Gone too is the plucky, country-dappled sound the duo (completed by guitarist Bobb Bruno) trialled on middling 2012 album ‘The Only Place’. In its place is chunkier, ’90s-style power-pop: turbo drums, crunching guitars and bombastic production from Wally Gagel, whose previous credits include Muse and Miley Cyrus. It’s not a perfect ride: the drums rip relentlessly through the melodies, pummelling away the sweetness on delicate opener ‘Feeling Ok’; and things sag somewhat on the album’s water-clogged title track – an airy, billowing paean to California that unravels into an aimless, reverb-heavy muddle. Cosentino’s honeyed vocal is the only true constant. It’s a radiating sunbeam, particularly so on the giddy, shimmering ‘Heaven Sent’.

Charlotte Richardson Andrews

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