Kaleidoscopic melodies. Candid lyrics. Glorious reverb. Best Coast has done it again with its latest release, Fade Away, which hit stores on October 22. Through its seven songs, the mini-album recounts all too familiar feelings, but not without evoking the need to dance first.
The duo, composed of vocalist/guitarist Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, evidently experiments with different musical styles in the EP. In comparison to previous works, Fade Away strays a bit from the band’s signature lo-fi sound. The EP tracks do not reminisce summer days, beach trips and 60s bliss. Instead, they seem nostalgic for the 90s in the way that they draw stylistic elements from post-punk, shoegaze and garage-rock in a produced manner.
Fade Away feels like the city: dense and fast-paced. Listening to each track is like passing through a crowded sidewalk and taking in every face, every voice and every sense of life. In retrospect, all is vivid; but you come to realize that every figure is a complex being. Similarly, each track is personal and genuine; it touches upon thoughts and feelings that have once haunted all of us at night.
What I find most admirable is the juxtaposition between the lyrics and music. Most tracks scream purely infectious pop, but all explore themes of vagrancy, heartache and coming-of-age. Take opening track “This Lonely Morning”: it’s the kind of song the protagonist of a John Hughes film would wake up to. Just the energy from the progressive guitar riffs and Cosentino’s vocals can make you feel ready to tackle the day ahead. But, take a closer listen and you’ll find that Cosentino’s lyrics unravel the struggles of a heavy heart. The following tracks, “I Wanna Know,” “Who Have I Become?” and “Fear of My Identity,” do just the same.
However, the mini-album, maintains a variety of style. The last three tracks — “Fade Away,” “Baby I’m Crying” and “I Don’t Know How” — brilliantly unwind from the rest of the EP’s motley melodies. These final songs drowns your senses in a hazy, psychedelic euphoria. In “Baby I’m Crying,” specifically, I found myself entranced by Cosentino’s swooning voice and the swaying sound of the guitar. Reminiscent to the style of Mazzy Star, “Baby I’m Crying” is what locked in the mini-album’s 90s feel for me.
Overall, the EP masterfully demonstrates Best Coast’s progress as a band, as well as musical talent. Even with experimental changes, the duo did not let its core sound fade — a quality often tricky to accomplish. Though the band’s vintage summer feel has slightly evolved, Fade Away welcomes listeners to an awesome start of something new.