Best Coast serve up perfect music for an old drive-in burger joint. If they worked there, these two slackers probably would have gotten fired for smoking something other than cigarettes. Vocal harmony is the trend in indie music. But singer Bethany Cosentino has one of the better individual voices in reverb-drowned pop.
Cosentino, who plays rhythm guitar in addition to singing lead vocals and lead guitarist Bobb Bruno form Best Coast’s core. Bruno plays multiple instruments including bass, drums, piano and organ, in addtion to lead guitar. However, they’ve recently snagged drummer Ali Koehler away from the Vivian Girls.
The band name “Best Coast” cleverly combines Cosentino’s first and last name. Additionally, it refers to her California home. Hearing early ’60s music drew her back from the East Coast to form the band. Of the indie pop bands out now, Best Coast comes closest to playing the high school prom. Well, only if Dick Dale produced a Ronettes record and cranked the reverb to surf rock levels. But a scoop of ’90s alt-rock fuzz also keeps this sound from being too retro.
Cosentino’s quavering voice combines sweet sounding ’60s girl groups with the depth of Liz Phair. Like old-school teen pop, the songs are short and deceptively simple. While it’s not always sunny in L.A. for Cosentino, she shares the same hyper-idealistic view of love.
Lots of songs are great for listening, like “Our Deal” and “Each and Everyday.” But after listening to Crazy For You a second time, it seems too stripped down in places. Cosentino reuses words like “crazy” and “lazy” and “miss you” in multiple songs. Repeating the same line to fill out verses or choruses grows wearisome.
Bruno sometimes doesn’t play his parts loud enough, like on “Bratty B.” It’s so much more energizing when he pushes his playing to the front, such was when he solos on “Boyfriend” and “When I’m With You,” or drums like mad on “Goodbye.” Nevertheless, Crazy For You is a fun, if sometimes fluffy piece of Phil Spector-era pop.
Note: The “When I’m With You” music video is in no way a long commercial for In-N-Out Burger.