|Rating: 2 / 5
Reviewer: Sean Marchetto
Best Coast’s sophomore album, The Only Place, is like a person we’ve all met at a party before. The first song, and title track, promises all kinds of carefree summer fun. The jangling guitar notes are reminiscent of Cub and Bethany Cosentino’s voice recalls that of Neko Case. The litany of Californian delights entices you to want to spend some time getting to know Best Coast. ‘Why I Cry’ continues with an upbeat guitar lick while introducing a slightly cynical edge, making you think the band is well-grounded but still fun. Yeah, we could be friends.
The third song though, ‘Last Year’, is a laundry list of complaints. The band’s rhythm section simply holds steady while Cosentino goes on and on. You try to get a word in, but you can’t. You begin to wonder about heading home, but you’re cornered. The sheer weight of autobiographical detail in ‘My Life’ is crushingly depressing. You’ve found the party’s Debbie Downer and you can’t get away.
On ‘No One Like You’ Cosentino asks, “If I sleep on the floor, will it make you love me more?” and it’s quite disturbing because you realize it’s meant as a come on, but sounds like an act of desperation. It only gets worse on ‘How They Want Me To Be’ where she pledges to turn her back on friends and family in order to prove her love to someone who it increasingly sounds like wants nothing to do with her.
It’s sad. The Only Place has plenty of nice harmonies and a warm guitar sound that halfway through the album finds itself stuck on autopilot. Lyrically, things fair no better. A little bit of pathos is fine, but Cosentino has a habit of stretching out her vowel sounds to make whatever she’s written fit the tempo the band’s fallen into. It’s lazy songwriting and as the songs get slower and slower, you wonder if Cosentino is just poaching lines straight from her recovery journal.
‘Let’s Go Home’, is the one bright spot as Best Coast winds things up. A faster tempo returns and the band switches up the Beach Boys for the Ramones. Cosentino sounds upbeat, and there’s the promise that all of this might be over very soon.