Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Best Coast - Fade Away EP (Guest writer Jon Birondo)

A few summers ago I went to California for vacation. It wasn’t the first time however it was the first time I was there conscious of its cultural and geographic significance. On the fourth day there I visited the Santa Monica pier; feeling the cool salty air, ice cold water, warm sun and sandy beaches on my skin was a great experience and just like in the movies, I closed my eyes and basked in my surroundings. Thinking back the only thing that lacked was the ideal, quintessential music to accompany it. I had heard the Beach Boys and Young The Giant on the way there, but to me it wouldn’t cut it. 
Fast forward ten months. I am in the midst of a huge project for world history and my mindset, emotionally, was not the best due to stress, grades and countless all-nighters to be completely honest. I then turned to Spotify and found a band under “Related Artists” from Vampire Weekend’s profile. I had found a true gem, I had found Best Coast. Immediately after clicking play I was instantly transported to the moment on the beach and I was happy again.

Best Coast’s style was so reminiscent of the Beach Boys, sunny California and “hakuna matata” days that I felt happy and joyful again. I dubbed it a “summer vibe” and it kept me going until summer. The band incorporates lo-fi, surf pop, and indie rock influences and with polished production the whole experience feels all too familiar but enjoyable for the most part. Their sophomore LP, while good, wasn’t at all different from their debut, Crazy For You, in terms of style and lyricism. The lo-fi riffs, playful drumming and lyricism of love were still present not really showing any progression. On the Fade Away EP, the band finally moves forward.

The opening track, “This Lonely Morning”, just barrages you with distorted feedback, and the band go back to their original style with composition and rhythm but now with a distortion pedal, adding some nice subversivness that clouds up the clean, lo-fi atmosphere. With a band whose sound is going stagnant, it’s a fresh and enjoyable alteration. The catchy hooks are still here too, which we all missed. Right? “I Wanna Know” is playful as ever, with a buoyant rhythm and attitude. “Baby goodbye” she sings in the happiest, joyful voice ever accompanied by the distortion, a welcome attribute. This distorted lo-fi style is carried on through the triumphant tracks in this case the album pinnacle ,“Who Have I Become”, where it becomes evident they’ve become something not entirely different but something better.

The band then takes the tempo down a notch with “Fear of My Identity”, “Fade Away” sounds a lot like “How They Want Me To Be” from their second LP, The Only Place so the clean riffs are back as the distortion, coincidentally “fades away”. They then pick themselves up with “I Don’t Know How”, an indie rock tune that closes the album perfectly with bittersweet lyrics: “I don’t know how to tell you I love you” as it quickly switches up tempo as does the energy and vibe of the songs. The bass stays busy and riffs, while having no distortion, show that Best Coast still have a soft spot for the past. It’s not too much of a problem and with Bethany Cosentino’s sweet yet enraged lyrics “You see me everywhere / you walk around without a care” the track explicitly parallels to Los Angeles, sunny and teeming with culture but smoggy and socially shady. Not hating on LA, but whenever you’re down, count on Best Coast to pick you up because they’re moving up and when you hop on, they’re taking you with them. 

FAV TRACKS: This Lonely Morning, I Wanna Know, Who Have I Become?, I Don’t Know How


Score: 8.1/10 

Written by Jon Birondo over at http://prettyneatgrooves.weebly.com/
Jon Birondo is a Junior high school student in Dallas, Texas. He runs and writes for Pretty Neat Grooves, a music blog he co-founded with his friend, Michael White. Aside from music he loves watching movies and television shows, playing drums and hanging out with friends. Keep It Neat! 


  1. It should say "I don't know how to tell you I love YOU" in paragraph 4

  2. And it should also say ..." As it switches in paragraph 4

  3. "AS it quickly switches..." ^