Review: Best Coast

California Nights
May 1, 2015

It was always going to happen, wasn’t it? That weed-hazed surf sound that Best Coast turned into the soundtrack of our adolescences was always going to fade out, and as the band enters their sixth year of existence, third record California Nights is a turning point for the US duo, a coming of age, if you will.

The witty and almost facetious humour Bethany Cosentino brought to her lyrics is replaced with more adult matter; heartbreak, loss, insomnia. It’s still dreamy and summery, but Best Coast are tackling the big questions now, “Big Life” questions that never seemed to bother them on what is still their greatest work, début Crazy For You.

It’s a departure from their last album, particularly the vaguely country sounds that they experimented with on 2012’s The Only Place are nowhere in sight. This time we’re faced with more power pop than anything else, with no shortage of the new punchy, piercing drums from Bobb Bruno.

The music, of course, is still nothing but stellar. With Wally Gagel at the producing helm providing perfect moments of punchiness in the seas of pop, above all the record is made by wonderfully talented musicians.

Bobb Bruno’s dynamic and ever-jangly guitar crossed with Cosentino’s beautiful voice, dripping with velvety languish; enjoyable no matter what she’s singing about. Heaven Sent is luxurious, decadent, dizzying.

It’s a new era for Best Coast, that’s for sure, but their fans have grown up with them, and the duo are perhaps spending this album finding the answers to things that now, half a decade on from a jangly, psychedelic début, we’re all really searching for.

‘California Nights’ is available digitally now via Harvest. They’re touring Australia for Splendour in the Grass 2015, including a few sideshows.

Watch: Best Coast – Heaven Sent