Best New Albums 2013 – #4 : Best Coast – Fade Away

Running through the end of the month (with a short Christmas break), I’ll be running a post each weekday taking a look at one of my top 20 albums of the year, slowly working my way down to number one. Some I’ve reviewed previously for Bearded Gentlemen Music – I’ll provide links where necessary – and the entire list will eventually end up there, too. But for most of these records, this is the first time I’m writing about them at length, making this a chance to explain my choices in a little greater detail. Last year’s list is no longer online, but for 2011′s Best Canadian Music click here and for 2010′s list, click here.

#4: Best Coast – Fade Away EP (Jewel City)

I used to say I liked their earlier stuff the most, that their last album was too bright and shiny. After all, didn’t The Only Place sound like a commercial? The stuff of theirs I like was the fuzzy stuff, where the pop ambitions were held slightly in check by lo-fi distortion.

Then I heard this and fell for them all over again. On Fade Away, they’re not as polished as on The Only Place, but it doesn’t sound like it’s recorded underwater either. The guitars have just the right amount of distortion and reverb while Bethany Cosentino’s voice shines through as clear as ever. Even if her lyrics are the same as they’ve ever been: On “I don’t know how,” she shouts the title over and over. Still, I’ve got a soft spot for lines like “I’ve been through the summer, stuck around for the cold.”

But elsewhere, things take a leap forward. “Who Have I Become” has Bobb Bruno rocking out as hard while Cosentino questions herself: “Sick of myself and how I feel, don’t recognize who I see in the morning,” she sings,  “Now I’m waking up to strangers with their shadows on my face.” Meanwhile, “This Lonely Morning” has one of the catchiest choruses I’ve heard all year. There’s something in Cosentino’s singing and Bruno’s tense guitars that grabbed me here: I’m not sure what it is, but I can’t stop myself from listening to this one all the way through.

Apparently, they’re already recording LP number three. After the leap forward they’ve made here, it’s got to be one of 2014’s most anticipated releases. Thankfully, this is more than enough to hold me over.


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