Best Coast: Fade away (Jewel City, 2013)


Best Coast

Brilliant Sun

Tenían razón los que decían que en este Ep de 2013 de Bethany Cosentino y Bob Bruno se habían recargado las pilas. Les ha salido un disco más que interesante, en el que no sobra nada (me encantan los Ep´s), y en el que, en verdad, parece que enseñan un poco las garras. Bueno, hay que tomarse ésto en su justa medida, aunque sí que es cierto que su sonido se torna algo más crudete y la distorsión es algo más protagonista.
De entrada hay que decir que el concepto de la música de Best Coast continúa siendo el mismo: Pop soleado, Pop de raíces sesenteras y temáticas sentimentales en la mayor parte de sus temas. Evidentemente, lo que funciona no hay que tocarlo. Y nada más comenzar nos topamos de bruces con This lonely morning que probablemente sea de lo mejor que Bethany haya escrito jamás. Y me gustaría destacar la facilidad para la melodía y el estribillo pegajoso que posee esta chica. Porque continúa haciéndolo en I wanna know, y la traca festiva continúa con Who I have become. Un comienzo de auténtico diez. Sin paliativos.
Encontramos algo de pausa en la nostálgica Fear of my identity y en Fade away, donde podemos rastrear la estela del Pop de féminas de mediados de los sesenta. Baby I´m crying muestra influencias de Mazzy Star, y el tema que cierra, I don´t know how, es un corte algo más convencional, de Pop de toda la vida, con cambio de ritmo incluido, para epilogar este brillante extended play.
En Fade Away Bethany continúa preguntándose cuestiones del tipo: “Last 30 seconds I’ll wait for him,”, “You taught me that my heart would grow old”, “I won’t change/ I’ll stay the same”, “Life is short but so am I. What does it matter, anyway?”, “Who have I become?”… las dudas del eterno adolescente. Y precisamente en esa frescura pienso que es donde radica el encanto de su música. Mientras que la conserve, Best Coast tendrá cuerda para rato, pese a que para muchos el género esté de capa caída. Con discos como Fade Away, Bethany demuestra justo lo contrario.


Fade Away attempts to answer these questions in a single, satisfying way: by returning to the unmistakable elements that characterized Best Coast when they hatched during the fuzzy garage-pop boom a few years ago. She’s back with propulsive melodies, a significant dose of reverb, repetition, and sticky, simple lyrics about aimlessness and the type of love that advances at a lackadaisical West Coast pace. The project is a return to form in the most literal of senses, too—it’s out on Cosentino’s new label, Jewel City, and at an unorthodox seven-song length, it has the scrappy, self-governed feel of her band’s early demos, albeit with a bit more polish. There are no name producers in the credits or songs that sound like jingles written for the Los Angeles Department of Tourism. Which is to say there’s nothing on Fade Away that would fit naturally on Best Coast’s slickly inert sophomore album, The Only Place, a record that boasted maturity but never really resonated.
But while it’s tempting to claim that Best Coast have reverted to a simple formula, or to think of Fade Away as an easy stopgap between The Only Place and the band’s next record, that’s not quite what’s happening, either. There are touches of sophistication across Fade Away that Best Coast haven’t been able to achieve until now, and Cosentino glides easily between shades of guitar-pop and chillier sounds. She seems as comfortable on a swooning ballad (“Fade Away”) as she does on a song that harnesses the frenetic sugar of Josie and the Pussycats (“This Lonely Morning”) or the gauzy whisper of Mazzy Star (“Baby I’m Crying”). She’s flexing her muscles as a songwriter, and she makes something that’s probably very difficult sound as though it comes easily to her.
The Cosentino who openly admits to struggle, or to not having figured it all out, then, is now relegated a familiar lyrical space. It can be easy to write her words off as too simplistic, too repetitive, or to dismiss them as retrograde in sentiment, but those qualities are what allow Best Coast to endure in a sea of acts with similar aesthetics. Cosentino is unafraid to fuss over the trivialities of plain old-fashioned love in a time when marriage has been described as the merging of brands. She’s ambivalent or confused about pretty much everything while everyone else’s tastes are codified to Likes. She has become reliably great at distilling a complex range of human emotion to basic sentences, and all of a sudden, the weed leaves and cats and cut-outs of the shape of California are merely kitschy insignias rather than overarching frameworks. “I won’t change/ I’ll stay the same,” she sings on “I Wanna Know”. While Cosentino is anxious to figure out who she’s become, Fade Away points to how strong she’s been all along” (Pitchfork)

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