first impressions: best coast – crazy for you

*a big thank you for this impression goes to urban outfitters for streaming this entire album on their website. they’re so hip and trendy, you know…

it took me a while to come around to these guys, i’m not going to lie. i was never that into bethany cosentino’s previous group (that would be the alternately spacey and spaced pocahaunted) and her early single releases as best coast really rubbed me the wrong way. for what were supposed to be lo-fi recordings of easy, breezy summer pop, they sure did reek of self-conscious effort to sound that way. maybe it’s because cosentino and her bandmate bobb bruno have relaxed their technique a little since then. or maybe i’ve relaxed my standards. whatever the case, this thirteen song, thirty-one minute long full length debut from what seems to be everyone’s new girl-pop guru du jour has mad staying power. effortlessly lovely and endlessly listenable, crazy for you is a perfectly paced and timed summer pop debut that should reward repeat listens long after the season ends.

cosentino’s vocals are the first thing that leap out to me. they sound cleaner, sweeter, and more confident, shining more light on her deceptively simple, eloquent songwriting.  my boyfriend rightfully called out their passing resemblance to a young courtney love’s (see the brooding, wistful “honey” for the best example). i’m not sure if that’s a reason for my skepticism in the past or my admiration now. either way, that’s there when i listen now.

those vocals and lyrics are hoisted by gorgeous throwback arrangements and harmonies. there are elements of shangri-las, gogos, breeders, and dum dum girls in play here (the latter easily their closest current contemporary), all swimming in swirls of sun-kissed ’60s surf rock. every song here details a love or lust for someone or thing, alternating between the feelings before and after love and loss, those of cautious desire and contemplative defeat. nothing new for indie rock, of course, but as always the devil is in those details. the way cosentino asks to “go back to that first place” in “i want to” or promises not to be such a pill anymore in “bratty b” is devastating without being depressing, sunny without being insincere. of course, that’s assuming there’s any truth behind the story here. if there isn’t, bethany’s a hell of a pretender (hey, there’s another fair band comparison).

given the shortness of the album, i don’t really want to spoil too much. all songs here except for one are under three minutes, and not a second is wasted on any of them. while the album itself may not linger, the same cannot be said for its songs and melodies, which will compel and command you to listen again. and again. bethany need not worry anymore about unrequited love once enough people do that. but then what will she sing about?

crazy for you is out july 27 on mexican summer. listen to leadoff track and standout “boyfriend” right now below.



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