California Nights Review
Released May 5, 2015
Genre: Indie Pop, Alternative Rock, Shoegaze, Noise Pop
California Nights, the third album released by the California based duo, Best Coast, once more brings a sunny beach vibe to listeners with its hints of surf rock and garage rock. It is as if the listener is in Santa Monica enjoying a nice day at the beach in sunny and dehydrated California. Unlike the band’s EP Fade Away which seemed confusing and adolescent (but introduced the band’s shoegaze capabilities), this album’s tone is much more thicker and the lyrics are much more mature with a touch of sincerity than anything lead singer Bethany Consentino has done since the duo’s debut album, Crazy For You. However, what separates Crazy For You and California Nights is the volume of the instrumentation. Best Coast ramps up the volume of the instrumentals in California Nights creating a fuzzy aesthetic that juxtaposes well with Consentino’s bright and clear vocals, and indicates a clear departure from the sunny, carefree vibe of their first two full lengths.
As always, Best Coast’s previous albums reflect an aspect of California life. However, whether it is relaxing at the beach, exploring San Francisco, or driving through California State Route 1, California Nights will put listeners in a really bright mood. The first track off the album, “Feeling Ok,” and the title track provides a sense of shoegaze, putting listeners in a trance and adding a bit of hooks which is extremely prevalent in “Feeling Ok.” What also makes California Nights Best Coast’s most comprehensive album is the level of sophistication and cleverness especially in “Heaven Sent” in which the bridge is just one line with the music fluctuating in and out of noise pop/grunge and has a guitar tone a la Crowded House. Furthermore, this track also breaks the verse-chorus structure Best Coast has done in previous track.
Now, this does not mean that Best Coast has completely abandoned its formulaic love song that was prevalent in Crazy For You. Songs like “Fine Without You” and “Run Through My Head” contain the same subject-matter. Furthermore, in “Jealousy,” the track illustrates a fractured relationship with Consentino’s repeating the line “What’s really jealousy?” as if she is demanding an answer. This emphasizes Best Coast’s success in the difficult job of relaying small altercations to a big picture.
For a band that has to meet expectations that was set through Crazy For You, this album almost smashes it. California Nights is the band’s most professional album. It provides maturity, intricacy, and sincerity. It plays on people’s love for the beauty of California for its cities, mountains, and beaches. Moreover, it is a great album to listen to in the summer; it provides the upbeat adventurous tone that is summer. As everyone’s favorite, Jon Birondo, said from a previous Best Coast review, you can “count on Best Coast to pick you up because they’re moving up and when you hop on, they’re taking you with them” and that Best Coast is best dubbed “a summer vibe.” Overall, California Nights is a really great album for surf-rock fans and shoegaze lovers alike. It best represents what California represents: sun, beaches, traveling, and adventure.
PRETTY NEAT MUSIC
FAV TRACKS: Feeling Ok, Fine Without You, In My Eyes, So Unaware, When Will I Change, Jealousy, California Nights, Run Through My Heart, Sleep Won’t Ever Come, Wasted Time
LEAST FAV TRACKS: Heaven Sent, Fading Fast,