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BEST COAST Always Tomorrow gets 7/10


Best Coast

Always Tomorrow
Concord Music

7/10

Best Coast burst on the scene in 2010 when their sun-kissed blend of slacker rock attitude and power pop hooks made them unlikely indie rock darlings. For a band whose initial modus operandi was “about weed and my cat and being lazy a lot”, they’ve shown remarkable longevity. After a five-year hiatus, Always Together is a more positive and mature effort, flashing a few new tricks while remaining true to their core sound.

After years of hard partying and nursing a never-ending hangover, now 33-year old frontwoman Bethany Cosentino has gone sober and made some positive changes in her life. This is great to hear, and her energy rings out throughout these songs. The words themselves could use a little work however, as this album is as blunt as brick to the face. Lines like “Now I’m sipping on my coffee/ Now I’m walking a little dog on a leash/ Now I live in a big pink house/ I escape to Witch Mountain Everyday” read like a holier-than-thou Facebook post that nobody wants to hear, and the album has a few too many of these moments to be entirely forgivable.

Thankfully the songs themselves are solid enough to carry this sentiment off. Cosentino’s vocals are stronger and brighter than ever before, no longer cloaked behind a wall of reverb. Sure, it doesn’t have the energetic simplicity of their youthful debut, but this album shows the most range of their career thus far. The aforementioned lines are from Everything Has Changed, a Joan Jett inspired slice of power pop that hits all the right notes.

Album highlight For the First Time is a beautiful, 80s inspired pop rock track with some great vocal flourishes from Cosentino. Graceless Kids is 90s punk all the way and has a great singalong chorus. Rollercoaster is a slacker track which milks its simple vocal hook in a great example of less-is-more songwriting. Master of My Own Mind is another tasty slice of 90s pop punk with fun country-inflected bridge.

Shame the quality isn’t consistent throughout. Some songs just fall flat (Wreckage, Make It Last) while some are near misses, like the Fleetwood Mac-isms of True that hint at a good hook but never quite take flight. The instrumentation is also uninspired, with all the catchiness reserved for Cosentino’s vocals and nary a guitar hook in sight in an album chock-full of six-string.

Overall this is a solid if unexceptional effort, with the band doing exactly what they need to at this stage in their career. It’s inconsistent, but the highlights will sit as some of the best power pop numbers of the year.

MATIJA ZIVKOVIC

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