CD Reviews

Best Coast, Versus, Lyrics Born and Eternal Summers

January 7, 2011

Best Coast's "Crazy For You"

Best Coast
Crazy for You
Mexican Summer

The teaming of Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno as Best Coast joins high talent with lo-fidelity. Cosentino is formerly of the experimental drone-psych outfit Pocahaunted, while Bruno’s minimal electronic solo Dreamt On EP found its way onto Glenn Kotche’s (of Wilco fame) Best Albums of 2009 list in Filter magazine.

The pair’s sound is a stylistic break from their individual projects, shifting from Pocahaunted’s angular 8-minute soundscapes and Bruno’s diverse experimentalism to clean and concise pop that averages 2 minutes per song. While Cosentino’s voice leads the charge, Bruno’s instrumentation “supplies the troops” for this new pop cavalcade, a stratagem aligned by the two’s careful attention to song arrangement.

Wearing influences readily, songs are constructed with lyrical candidness and musical simplicity. With sun-kissed melodies and reverb-drenched guitars, songs like “Our Deal” and “Summer Mood” act as odes to ’60s California sunshine pop and surf rock, while “Honey” could be “Just Like Honey” in its Jesus and Mary Chain-like sway. Throughout the album, Cosentino’s confectionery yet callous voice swells, while the drums and guitars respond like waves, ebbing between ferocious clamors and slow tidal undulations. Best Coast has supplied us with the perfect soundtrack for summer drives up and down the I-5. Is it original? Probably not. Is it good? Definitely. — Ryan I. Miyashiro

On the Ones and Threes
Merge Records

As if we haven’t heard enough of musicians returning from an extended hiatus (or disbandment), Versus makes like Eyjafjallajökull and erupts on the masses with its Merge Records release On the Ones and Threes, their first album in nearly 10 years. Blonde Redhead, Unwound and Cotaine were some of the bands associated (and in some instances that collaborated) with these New York City rockers, shaping the sound of an experimental guitar-driven genre unique to its decade. With a band named after a Mission of Burma album, you can get the gist of how much Versus wants to bend white noise with the guitars.

On the Ones and Threes reflects images of how fans from 10 years ago look today,  “alt-dads” that have since traded in their Doc Martens for Keds. Hit up the opening track “Erstwhile” and “Gone to Earth,” which pretty much show a little older, more mature face than the salacious sound Versus is known for. “Cicada,” “Saturday Saints” and the title track “On the Ones and Threes” go toward a slightly different approach: not so much with the long hair, but still rocking a little flannel to say, “Hey I can still do this … on the weekends.” — Matt Ratt

This was a preview of The Throwback Issue. To read the full story, subscribe to Hyphen or pick up a copy at a newsstand near you.

Magazine Section: