The last we saw Best Coast was in 2015 with California Nights. Since that point, singer and guitarist Bethany Cosentino had been overcome with a writer’s block that prevented her from expressing the multitude of circumstances swirling around her at any given time. After forcing herself to write again, she and Bobb Bruno have once again emerged with Always Tomorrow, a record Consentino state is about “…leaving the darkness for the light, but still understanding that nothing is going to be perfect.”
“Different Light” starts the festivities, driving ahead at full speed with all the cool California vibes and indie sensibility possible. The Joan Jett-Esque “Everything Has Changed” sees Consentino reflecting on the major shifts in her life since at least the last album, the track being the first she came up with for the record in an effort to break out of her creative standstill. “For The First Time” starts on a flutey note and channels 80s pop and new wave, continuing on the lyrical themes of change established on “Everything Has Changed”: “I guess this is what they mean when they say people can change/‘cause I finally feel free, I feel like myself again.”
“Graceless Kids” sees Consentino playing the part of a punkier Pat Benatar, considering her place as a role model for the youth: “Who am I to keep preaching to the graceless kids of tomorrow?/They need a hero, not a wreck.” “Wreckage” more directly addresses her writer’s block and her life situation at the time: “I wanted to move on/but I, I kept writing the same song.” “Rollercoaster” is more laid back, musing on the insanity of life and considering what’s remained consistent instead of what’s changed. “Master Of My Own Mind” treads closer to pop-punk while clearly articulating the primary theme of the album: “I gotta focus, I gotta rewind/I gotta stay the master of my own mind.”
“True” throws back to the pop ballads of the ‘50s and ‘60s, marked by a trademark crooning and gentle chord progression that is strikingly familiar even for the young. “Seeing Red” rockets back into the present day, starting with synthesizers and blowing up into full indie pop. “Make It Last” turns back to the pop-punk vibes explored before, while “Used To Be” slows things down to a grind while conveying once more the central theme of then vs. now: “Don’t talk to me like you know me/cause I am not the same girl that I used to be.”
Best Coast’s return to records is perhaps not quite as exciting as their previous output, but nevertheless engaging and identifiable enough to retain an interest in a young indie audience. The lyricism is plain as day and holds not a drop of pretense, perhaps too plain- nevertheless, Consentino’s vocals click and work like they always have and her and Bruno’s instrumentation conveys both a clear, viable formula and a decent degree of versatility to carry things forward. Going forward from Always Tomorrow, one would expect Best Coast to traverse into new territory with the personal growth of its member(s). Here’s hoping they do and continued sophistication follows.
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