Best Coast / The Only Place

The Only Place

The Only Place is the second studio album by American indie rock duo Best Coast, released on May 15, 2012 on Wichita Recordings. Produced by Jon Brion, the album features a more polished aesthetic than its lo-fi predecessor, Crazy for You (2010).

Regarding the album’s lyrical and thematic content, songwriter Bethany Cosentino noted, “It comes from a point of view of being very homesick and feeling like my feelings were all over the place because of the fact that I was so busy and scatterbrained and traveling all the time.”

The Analysis:

The Only Place—-From the onset, it appears to me that this favorite band of mine has taken a bit of a turn. Not concentrating as much on the low fuzz ‘beach-pop’, this release has an almost Country flair to it….but not in a bad way! This first track, is perhaps my favorite…as it shines with a nice gloss that makes me smile. This is so damn pleasant, it is hard to find fault with the whole damn thing. I miss the slight Alt feel of the previous release, but this is still stellar!

Why I Cry—-Again, can anyone find fault with this release? This is shiny and full of pop hooks. The vocal overlays that are throughout the song give the entire thing so much body…this is wonderfully warm, bright and sunny despite the somewhat downer lyrics…you can’t get past the shiny feel of the whole thing…polish away!!!

Last Year—-this has a really heavy 50’s Country lean to the entire thing. Makes me think of old-fashioned Prom songs from years gone by. I can almost envision the old 50’s tuxedos in my brain….the track paints a huge vivid picture…this is magnificent! “What a year this day has been, what a day this year has been”…..incredible!!!

My Life—-Returning to a more pop edge, the vocal layers on this track are fantastic…wondering how this band pulls this off live? This is so damn pleasant…depite the fact the the lyrics are rather dark. The music has a nice jaunty beat to it…making me smile….as the vocal wraps itself all around the music…this is bright…and brilliant!

No One Like You—-With virtually no b ass on this release, it is hard not to be bright and shiny! This is another of those tracks that from the very first listen made me think of old-fashioned 50’s school dances full of angst and revelries. This is just brilliant…the simple fact that they are making music like this in 2012 is remarkable….and doing it well is even better…I love this!!!

How They Want Me To Be—-Beginning a bit sedate and quiet, the track turns into a nice mellow interlude that allows you to sit back and actually catch every single word that is offered up. As the percussion enters the track it becomes a bit more lively, but there is an underlying sadness that makes you pay attention….

Better Girl—-Wow…..from the first guitar chords of the song…I fell in love. This is much more reminiscent of the first release….the vocal is so damn clear and the emotions are everywhere…intrumentally and lyrically. This is another of those favorite tracks of mine that screams sunshine and bright lazy days outdoors…..just wonderful!!!

Do You Love Me Like You Used To—-Another track that uses the magical vocal overlays to make you think about the fun Girl Groups of the past…this is full of built-in harmonies and a bright sunny sound. I love the retro feel to the whole damn thing…maybe that shows my age? This is brilliant…when the chorus opens up, the song becomes an entirely different animal…I love diversity!!!

Dreaming My Life Away—-Beginning much more gentle, the vocal has an almost slight echo to it that catches my attention right away. The drums are pretty fantastic on this song…I know this band has revolving drummers…but they should hang on to this one. This is not a happy song…but the poignancy makes it so attractive to me…another favorite!

Let’s Go Home—-This track returns to a much more jaunty and fun sound…the music is fast paced and bright as hell. I love this song!!!! The music is much more aggressive and the drums are surf all the way! This is what I have been waiting for…this is why I fell in love with this band!!!! Again……brilliant!

Up All Night—-Rounding out the release with a return to the pure 50’s sound that has carried most of this release, it only makes me sad it is the end and hungry as hell for the next chapter. There is a part of me that thinks this band could be very loud and aggressive if they wanted to be…for now…this is too damn pleasant to walk away from….I will be listening to this for a while…..

**** 3/4 out of 5


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