September 10th, 2010 | Album reviews

alessa kreger

Best Coast “Boyfriend”

(From Crazy For You out now on Mexican Summer)

Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno do everything about the ’60s that the ’90s got right. Fuzzy barre chords and you’re-not-my-real-dad drums meet guitar lines that are catchy and heartfelt harmonies that approach a new horizon in Best Coast vocal technique. Best Coast lyrics are delivered like the Shangri-Las but written like Mazzy Star or Cat Power or the fucking Spice Girls for that matter—it’s all boys and heartbreak and cats and drugs. If I were into gossip I’d want to know who Bethany was talking about, but I get the feeling she ain’t talking about anyone at all—or perhaps she’s talkin’ ’bout everyone all at once. That’s the thing about Best Coast— it’s general in just the right way, specific to our moment in music history in that it recalls the nostalgia of an era nostalgic for a bygone era. So this is your postmodern pop rock—meaninglessness that means something special to us all! Bobb Bruno could be the one-man new Nirvana—drums and guitar and vocals and a bunny head for those who remember! And Bethany does more with one octave than most singers would do with three—she doesn’t need to strain to emote nor complicate to communicate. “Summer Mood” is my favorite, with its casual goodbye and lazy background choir. “The End” is so honest it’s awkward in that empowering way, like Blondie’s “Call Me” but “Honey” is better to get stoned to or to listen to while angry—the ooh ahs satisfy me while the driving drums and monotone melody afford me a certain angsty darkness too little pop allows. The whole album is glittered with tambourine and is that a keyboard or am I just stoned and tired from having been arrested earlier? Regardless, a sound that could easily have languished has exploded. Something that could have been stunted has grown and I am happy to sing along.

—Drew Denny