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Reviews

Best Coast
The Only Place Tom Watson , May 16th, 2012 08:01

In an internet swiftly filling to a dark cesspit of quantity over quality, nothing is safe, especially music. As the self-conscious neophiles drag their nets through the internet's void, these trawlers of taste catch the occasional gem, but it becomes blotted by the crud that shortly follows. And then these over-hyped 'artists' get reblogged again and again and again until they essentially are nothing more than another blog band... just like Best Coast.

Best Coast - with their so-Cal, dank smoking ways - seem to have no other option but to continue releasing diluted surf prattle until the retweets and reposts stop. Their second effort The Only Place promised less Joni Mitchell rips and more of a fine tuned sheen to their trademark 'can't-be-arsed' production standard. Just when you thought Crazy For You's unnecessary phonic muffle and the endless references to Snacks the cat (lead girl Bethany Cosentino's pet) had gone, along come another eleven baseless mehs that belong nowhere else than on a blog that no one reads.

Even the offensively quirky cover art of a bear embracing a map of California looks like a fashionable meme for the future. Nonetheless, the illustration captures the album's content in visual perfection: sickly, beige and chintzy. Opening with the title track, the too-hip-to-write-properly Cosentino lists her idea of entertainment: sitting around, staring at mountains and trees, waking up with the sun, and, above everything else, always having fun. It's this kind of dull theme that sponges out each and every song. In 'Last Year', Cosentino comes to the life-affirming realisation that growing up is inevitable and with it comes less time for marijuana. In 'How They Want Me To Be', she revolts with harmonised angst, affirming that she just doesn't want to be how 'they' want her to be. In fact, as Cosentino coyly experiments with the small selection of chords at her disposal, she has nothing better to do than spurt out half-baked verses of meaningless slurs.

It was almost a waste of time and effort recruiting Jon Brion (who has previously produced for Kanye West and Fiona Apple) to polish up the turdy material at hand. However, he has gone some way toward crisping the claptrap. The opiate simplicity of 'Dreaming My Life Away', the teeny clamour of 'Let's Go Home', and the cute audacity of 'My Life' are almost poppy enough to pass as comprehensive. Comparatively, Best Coast have at least unclogged their ears and tested more knobs on the sound desk since Crazy For You's pointlessly substandard shambles.

Nonetheless, the seeds laid by Best Coast's genre-leading hubby, Wavves, continue to spread like a pandemic of dip-dye hair and generally half-arsedness, rendering this clan of narcissistic attention seekers completely unavoidable. And now Cosentino's recent affiliation with denim demons, Urban Outfitters, has blessed her and flaccid band bro Bobb Bruno to focus solely on their image over integrity, which, if The Only Place is anything to go by, is both fashionably blasé and effortlessly talentless.

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