Best Coast turns heartache into hazy summer beach jams on debut LP

After releasing a series of 7-inch singles over the past year, Best Coast has made a surprise bid for sweetest summer album of 2010 with “Crazy For You” (Mexican Summer), the Los Angeles duo’s full-length debut.

Not only has the album already cracked the top 40 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, debuting at No. 36, it has the even rarer distinction of actually deserving it. Singer Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno have put together a collection of hazy, lo-fi pop tunes brimming with sunny, deceptively plaintive melodies that evoke cool sea breezes on hot summer afternoons.

Best Coast draws heavily from the sound of vintage girl groups, though the wall of sound effect here comes from fuzz-tone electric guitars soaked in reverb and layers of backing vocals.

Unlike the brash, coquettish charm of, say, the Pipettes — the girl-group throwback of 2007, complete with polka-dot dresses — Cosentino shows a more lovelorn side, pining for a would-be lover on opener “Boyfriend,” musing over her own ambivalence on the title track, wanting something deeper than a friends-with-benefits arrangement on “Our Deal” and promising an ex-boyfriend she’ll clean up her act on “Bratty B.”

Although her lyrics aren’t particularly deep (nor did Cosentino intend them to be, she has said in interviews), they’re plenty vivid, and she sings so powerfully that even songs about unrequited love come to sound like the perfect summer beach soundtrack.

LISTEN
Boyfriend mp3

— Text by Eric R. Danton, mp3 courtesy of Mexican Summer

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