When you listen to Best Coast, what do you think of? Does their music conjure up reckless summer nights exploring chemicals and indulging your youthfulness until your body collapses? Is it skating at the local park, stacking it, but still trying to maintain an air of dignity in front of your crush? Is it months spent thrashing a shitty drum-kit and third-hand guitar with your best friend until your sound is ready to be shared with the world?
Unstrap the surfboard and come for ride with radical Malibu surf rockers Best Coast and their new song Heaven Sent.
To me, I think all of these things when I listen to Best Coast. The scrappy Californian two-piece with a hybrid surf-garage rock sound (and love for cats), has never failed to conjure images that dually celebrate and mourn the passing of youth. Best Coast aren’t teenagers anymore and the halcyon days spent skipping class and flunking exams are gone, but through their music they make growing up just a little bit easier. Let Best Coast cradle you and nurse your mid-20s hangover with vigorous drumming, sunburnt vocals and the kind of sweeping guitar work that’s easy to get lost in.
In the three years since their latest full length release, the duo has been growing up; albeit probably reluctantly, but growing up nonetheless. The frizzy haired, adolescent energy that the two are so well loved for is very much present on this new track. But this time around, it feels more mature and considered. Maybe it’s me, and the fact that I’ve aged too since I last truly reveled in the music of Best Coast, but it seems unfair to attribute the continued development of their sound to the simple march of time.
There’s definitely more to be appreciated here. As ever, Best Coast are downright irresponsible with dexterous, dynamic instrumentation on Heaven Sent, piecing together a composition that calls to mind a more troubled version of The Vivian Girls. Little touches throughout the track, however, serve to firmly affix this track to your mind. My ears are continually inclined to listen more closely to the splintered electric guitar that cascades throughout the second half of this track, and to foster appreciation for those striking, yet restrained, backing vocals during the chorus. Beth Cosentino’s lyrical work on this track reads like a diary entry, peppered with carefully scribbled confessionals. The strain of this relationship breakdown is perfectly captured through Beth’s bittersweet vocal delivery, embodying characteristics of both heartbreak and hopefulness in its timbre.
Heaven Sent is taken from Best Coast’s third record California Nights, and judging by this lead single, it’s clear that the Los Angeles-dwelling pair still have much more to offer by way of storytelling, guitar-driven compositions and characteristic dynamism. It’s okay to get older, and it’s okay to grow up just like the world always wanted you to, but if there’s a part of you that still has the outline of a green, unsophisticated juvenile, then Best Coast might be your new favourite escape.
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