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Best Coast – California Nights – Album Review

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best-coast-california-nights-artBest Coast – California Nights – Album Review

California surf-rock giants Best Coast are arguably the giants of the genre right now and ever since their debut Crazy For You, they’ve been crafting songs that perfectly emulate their home state. Since that debut they’ve been slowly moving out of their lo-fi beginnings and tried to give more sophistication to their sound, albeit while losing some of their simplicity which was part of their appeal. Their latest album California Nights is definitely the bands most hi-fi work but it seems to have removed some of the bands fun.

Track by Track Breakdown

The album opens well on the surprising “Feeling Ok” which contrasts the album’s more hi-fi sound with some significant distortion and some killer hooks. Between singer Bethany Cosentino’s great vocal lines and the guitar work here the album definitely seems to have potential. This seems to subside a bit on “Fine Without You” which just feels like the band treading some generic rock ground within their sound and does nothing really interesting.

This generic feel continues on “Heaven Sent” which unfortunately just seems to cover even more ground that’s been overdone, wasting some interesting guitar sounds as well some of the song’s interesting bridges. It also suffers from a rather lifeless delivery of one of the band’s fastest and most melodically intense songs. “In My Eyes” also has trouble doing anything new as it emulates the sound of other, grittier surf-rock bands without capturing their energy.

So Unaware” pulls in some of great mix of the album’s opening track while still feeling somewhat done. “When Will I Change” breaks some of this up with one of the albums few hook-driven tracks delivering a lot of build-ups, dreamy backing vocals and a shredding solo to boot.

Jealousy” delivers a pretty decent song with some nice hooks and cool vocal tracks although it still feels uninspired and a little too lyrically boring. This all changes on title track “California Nights” that’s by far the most sonically impressive track in the band’s catalogue. The song is extremely dreamy while being just as heavy, mixing in an intense amount of bass. The added synth only adds to the dream-like state of the track and it will keep listeners in a moonlight trance until its final notes.

Fading Fast” delivers even more stellar hooks while also bringing an absolutely amazing chorus, and ending on a wonderfully soft note. The band delivers their first bass-driven track on “Run Through My Head” which unfortunately falls into more generic territory, sadder due to the cool licks hidden throughout the track as well as its ending.

The problematic writing reaches its peak on “Sleep Won’t Ever Come” which seems like the band’s bad attempt at a pop song that even has some off-putting guitar lines at times. “Wasted Time” constantly feels like it’s building to something better and truly has some nice since and guitar lines in it but without any sort of change it’s as its name suggests, wasted time.

Conclusion

California Nights doesn’t feel completely like wasted time, the album moves forward sonically while being extremely lazy in terms of writing and delivery. The songs often feel lifeless and generic while only being saved by their nice sound. The album isn’t necessarily terrible but like Muse’s Drones it’s disappointing considering the band’s earlier work and is boring for people who listen to even moderate amounts of rock.

THE SCENE


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