If you’re one to start harrumphing over a lack of Big Themes in popular music then you’d best take your pipe and miniature whiskies off on a holiday; for slackers are back baby, and they’re singing about TV and weed and sweat pants. [a]Best Coast[/a]’s Bethany Cosentino is a total throwback to slackerdom’s last golden period, the early ’90s, writing songs about her anti-ambition lifestyle which are soaked in washes of distorted guitars. Yet, as followers of her hilarious Twitter page will know, she has none of grunge’s nihilism; she bloody loves sitting on the couch all day getting stoned. This laidback attitude leads her to use sloppy garage rock as a launching pad towards classic ’60s California pop. The sublime lead-off single for the album, ‘Boyfriend’, is straight from the Phil Spector loonbook, with melody and swooning to the forefront and dirty guitars aping a wall of sound. That’s pretty much the template for the entire album, and sure, there’s plenty of these new Shangri-lo-fi bands around at the moment, [a]Dum Dum Girls[/a], [a]Vivian Girls[/a] et al, but Best Coast have shot straight to the top of the pile for two reasons: great songs, and immense charm.
Beth tells stories about her slacker lifestyle in the most melodramatic fashion. ‘Goodbye’ is about little more than how her boyfriend is rubbish at saying goodbye when he leaves the house. But she sings it like her husband’s going away to fight in the 100 Years War. “Every time you leave this house, everything falls apart… I can’t get myself off the couch, I don’t want to talk to anyone else”. In this nightmare scenario, where her fella’s just popped to the shops, she’s near breakdown: “Nothing makes me happy, not even TV or a bunch of weed”.
It’s weirdly powerful stuff this, couch-rock, heartbreak coated in cereal. And with this limelight-stealing album Best Coast are providing an amazing advert for dropping out, having mad crushes and doing very little other than getting high.
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