March 8th, 2010 | Album reviews

Download: Best Coast “When I’m With You”


(from the “When I’m With You” 45 out now on Black Iris)

If 2009 was the year of tripped-out hipstertronica, 2010 seems set to be known as “The Year of Guitar-Heavy Noise Pop.”  At the forefront of this buzzed-out musical movement sits Best Coast–the Los Angeles duo of Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno–whose jaunty tunes have sent bloggers’ hearts aflutter and 7” prices skyrocketing.  Best Coast’s newest EP, Something in the Way, marks an admirable turning point in the band’s signature style.  While earlier Best Coast tracks were often meandering, strung-out affairs, the three songs on Something in the Way are delightful pop gems halfway between the kitchen-sink romance of Phil Spector and the sensibilities of badass 90s girl rock.  We’re talking sugary, stuck-in-your-head-for-hours-on-end hooks!  And if you can get past the super-hip ‘lo-fi’ production values, which too often submerge Cosentino’s lyrics beneath layers of muddy reverb and distorted guitar, you come to realize that her sing-song vocals are deceptively crafty, weaving tortured tales of unrequited love (“Wish He Was You”) together with innocent odes to girlish infatuation (“Something in the Way”).  Sure, these benign topics have existed in popular song since the very beginning of rock music itself, but there’s a self-deprecating, snarky genius in the way Cosentino approaches them.  She believes in what she’s singing–after all, most clichés do derive from some greater truth—but she nonetheless sings with a wink and a smile. And isn’t it about time a music-making Angelino started having more fun with her songwriting?  I’m getting awfully tired of all this brooding.

-Kat Bee