Best Coast — the dynamic duo comprised of singer/songwriter/guitarist Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno — have been labeled *a lot* of different things since their mighty impressive 2010 debut, Crazy For You. Dream-pop, power-pop, alternative-rock, alternative-pop, indie rock, indie pop, lo-fi, surf pop, garage rock — take your pick. But there’s a reason why they’ve been categorized with so many genre distinctions: their songs have a universal appeal. If you’re a fan of any of these genres then chances are you’d fall in love with their music. And chances are that you already have, given their rapidly-growing popularity, especially in the blogosphere.
Some fans have said that this EP finds the duo veering a bit too far into pop territory, but others have said that this is their best release for precisely that reason. I would be among the latter. To my ears, Best Coast have always been a pop band at their core. They’ve drawn from all of the above-mentioned genres, but what they’ve turned these things into is ultimately refined, sun-kissed pop music. At least that’s my opinion. But there’s really no point in arguing about what kind of music they make. All that truly matters is that they make it and we like — no, love — it.
Fade Away, the first release on Cosentino’s Jewel City label, gives you seven more reasons to adore Best Coast. It features five brand-new songs along with the two excellent tracks from their 2013 Record Store Day single, “Fear of My Identity” and “Who Have I Become.”
It opens with “This Lonely Morning,” a terrifically up-tempo but somewhat melancholic tune. “The haze is on my mind, I’m running from myself this time,” Cosentino sings, invoking early Liz Phair and Mazzy Star. The guitars here are jittery and the song is almost as anxious as it is catchy. “And I don’t see fine, I can’t walk in a straight line,” she sings with a sense of urgency. She’s almost as anxiety-ridden during “I Wanna Know,” during which she proclaims, “It’s a mystery to me / How much he really loves me.” And how much he loves her is precisely what she wants to know, though the surf-rock-infused chorus finds her saying “baby goodbye.” Apparently, she’d rather have another lonely morning than be with a guy she can’t quite size up. This sort of uncertainty often plagues her and even renders her self-loathing. During “Who Have I Become” she sings, “I want to be somebody else / Sick of myself and how I feel.” The ’60’s girl group-flavored title track, “Fade Away,” finds her frustrated with herself for being “mean.” These sentiments that she expresses throughout the EP are things that most of us can relate to, giving the songs added appeal on top of the fact that they all sound so damn infectious.
Call it what you want, just be sure to listen.