Summer 2010. The surf pop movement rip curls its way on to the music scene. Beach Fossils, Surfer Blood and Wavves are just some of the aquatic-monikers to shore break. One of the biggest bands to emerge from the movement is Best Coast. Lead by Bethany Cosentino, a Cali chick with crappy tattoos and a penchant for cats, Best Coast quickly become the quintessential surf pop pin ups. Their debut album, Crazy For You, charmingly captures heated halcyon days with its jangle guitars and lethargic lyricism about love, loss and laziness.
But that was then and this is now. The surf pop movement was a short, sweet, but ultimately shallow trend. It couldn’t, and shouldn’t, last forever. And Best Coast appeared to appreciate that. After all, they have spent the last month describing their forthcoming sophomore, The Only Place, as their “grown up“, “serious” and “mature” effort. It really did seem like the band were unshackling themselves from their surf pop chains in order to deliver us a necessary new dimension this 2012.
But then we heard their new single and all our optimism was dashed in 2 minutes 44 seconds.
“The Only Place” sees Best Coast take one step forward and two steps back. Musically, we have the same-old simplistic accompaniment, but we have always known the Coast are no virtuosos. Rather, it is the lyrics which set the song on its road to ruin. Inherently, they are utterly trivial:
“We wake up with the sun in our eyes/It’s no surprise that we get so much done/But we always, yes we always, we always have fun/Yes we always, yes we always, we always have fun”
But when set within the context of Crazy For You, the self-pastiche becomes practically painful. A genuine question: can Bethany Cosentino write about anything beyond having fun in the sun?
“Why would you live anywhere else?/Why would you live anywhere else?/We’ve got the ocean, got the babes/Got the sun, we’ve got the waves/This is the only place for me.”
Sure, on the surface, “The Only Place” is sonically sanguine. But if you are seeking for any form of sustenance, our tip is to avoid this song at all costs. The fact of the matter is, if the rest of The Only Place follows this exhausted formula, it would appear the blogosphere has built up Best Coast for one massive fall next month.
The Only Place is out May 14th on Wichita Recordings.