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Saturday, March 2, 2024

An album review of Best Coast’s Fade Away

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.


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