BEST COAST play the Phoenix July 21. See listing. Rating: NNNN
The story of the hip lo-fi garage/surf band ditching the fuzz for cleaner sounds has officially become a huge cliché, but we won't hold it against Best Coast. Bethany Cosentino is growing up, and this album is largely about that process. It might not endear her to some punker-than-thou blogs, but c'mon - she couldn't keep writing noisy songs about her cat forever. Granted, writing about internet haters instead doesn't seem like a great idea on paper, but the results are surprisingly engrossing.
Lifting that trademark haze of reverb and distortion wouldn't work if she weren't also growing as a songwriter and vocalist, and she is. It's still just simple major-key 60s bubblegum pop roughed up a bit, but it's done with an increasingly refined touch. At first listen it seems disposable, but a few days later you haven't stopped playing it or discovering new layers. A great example of why originality isn't always essential for greatness.
Top track: Why I Cry