[one_half last=”no”]
California Nights

NBHAP Rating: 3,3/5


[one_half last=”yes”]BEST COAST
California Nights

Release-Date: 04.05.2015
Label: Harvest Records

01. Feeling Ok
02. Fine Without You
03. Heaven Sent
04. In My Eyes
05. So Unaware
06. When Will I Change
07. Jealousy
08. California Nights
09. Get Outta My Head
10. Run Through My Head
11. Sleep Won’t Ever Come
12. Wasted Time




This charming woman

Sometimes you just got to ask yourself how long you can continue a sudden strategy without boring your followers or even yourself. Ever since Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno joined forces together as BEST COAST six years ago they instantly became one of California’s most stereotypical surfpop bands. Cosentino (and her cat) became indie music style icons and the band represented the Golden State in the best possible way. Easy-going indie-rock anthems about girls and boys, teenage love and an enjoyable life outside the ordinary. Every album and EP so far was packed with these charming little lo-fi gems that were just too irresistible to not fall for them. But now, on the band’s third full-length California Nights, things are about to change. At least a bit.

The ‘Major’ step

Following two album releases via Mexican Summer Cosentino and Bruno decided to make the logical step towards a major label and release California Nights via Harvest this time. And although the general themes and sounds are just the same as always you sense tiny adjustments right from the beginning. Feeling OK opens the record with joyful guitar play but all in all it’s a way fuller sound, slicker production and you get the feeling that BEST COAST sound a bit louder and heavier in general. The album’s single Heaven Sent is another example of this rockier direction. Still, there’s plenty of sun-drenched BEST COAST DNA in those tracks, especially in Cosentino’s lyrics who are once again as charming as they are simple. ‘Girls will be girls and boys will be boys’ she resumes in Jealousy while also giving love frustration a medium in the catchy In My Eyes as she sings: ‘What hurts the most is that your gone.’ No, Cosentino clearly is not the most profound lyricist in the history of indie music.

Stagnation in the sunshine

The heavy and richer rock sound of California Nights marks the main difference on the third album of the duo. Ironically the best song of the album, its title-track, is the only one that breaks the vicious circle of naive three and a half minutes long surf pop tunes. It’s an epic over five minute long monster, build with big walls of sound and quite possibly the most ambitious song BEST COAST have recorded to date. It’s the long overdue variety the music of these two lovely characters needed. Unfortunately it remains an expectation on the album, revealing the basic problem of BEST COAST and our initial question here. How often can you repeat that formula again and again? The duo is stuck in its own musical microcosm and it’s a very narrow one. Yes, the music is charming, the songs are sunny and catchy and you’ll fall for Cosentino’s naive teenage love songs every time but how many summers will this concept work? It’s getting slightly boring and heavily predictable on California Nights, especially with its slick sound and the lack of the former lo-fi charm. The overall picture gets a few cracks and the story starts to get old. And that’s really a shame, isn’t it?

BEST COAST’s ‘California Nights’ comes with less lo-fi charm and a slightly more polish production – the rest remains the same.