Picking up a new Best Coast album is like reuniting with a cheery old pal at the beach. Sure, she won’t stop blabbing about the splendors of her beloved state, but it’s still a treat to kick back and catch up. You can feel the sand beneath your toes, the warm heat from last summer’s fire.
In some ways, California Nights is more of the same – it’s a more polished version of the band sans the lower-fi reverb sounds of 2010’s Crazy For You. Lead track “Feeling Ok” exemplifies the album’s good vibes and longing for better times. Though everything’s not perfectly peachy, singer Bethany Cosentino remains optimistic: “My doctor says that I should take it / at least I won’t have to keep faking / I know someday I’ll find it where I least expect it…I know it’s love that’s got me feeling ok.” These are the words of an artist in transition.
With Blondie-esque opening riffs, “When Will I Change” continues to self-examine, as she yearns for a friend to “just tell me I’m fine.” “It’s not that bad and I have no reason to be sad / but I find a way almost every day to stay this way.” Who hasn’t been there at some point?
Behind the group’s jovial, warm-weathered melodies lies our old friend, hiding her hurt behind the veneer of airy, surface-happy pop tunes and her always-cherished California nights. The amount of streams this album will receive from this reviewer alone is hopefully an indicator that Cosentino and Best Coast are better than “fine” – they’re resolute. Grade: B