For anyone who found the simple pop perfection of Best Coast’s 2010 debut, Crazy For You, utterly irresistible, the past few years have been quite the bummer. As it turns out, the same can be said for Bethany Cosentino herself. On Best Coast’s brand new seven-track EP, Fade Away, Cosentino and accomplice Bobb Bruno circle back to their more basic, charming roots; still, there’s a newfound attitude that’s darker, angrier, and far more honest than anything they’ve ever produced before. Like most twenty-somethings (this one included), growing up means a lot more than weed, the beach, and kittens plastered adorably onto album covers. Of course, there is that, but also hopes, fears, anxiety, depression, doubts, sleepless nights, and everything else Best Coast covers so gracefully on Fade Away.
Along a spectrum that includes both the bedroom lo-fi appeal of Crazy For You and the glossy studio sheen of 2012’s The Only Place, Fade Away falls somewhere in the middle. “People they change/And love it fades/My brain, it’s grey/From all the things I take,” Cosentino sings on the EP’s title track, which already is a sharp departure from the happy, sunny love songs of the 26-year-old’s back catalogue. Alas, with age comes responsibility, and Cosentino has faced her fair share of heartbreak, heartache, and self-reflection; at least, if the rest of the EP is any indication.
The title Fade Away makes sense for Best Coast’s latest effort, which includes bubblegum sounds that don’t ever verge on too-sweet radio territory. Much of this has to do with Bobb Bruno’s ever-scratchy guitar work, but also Cosentino’s mature, introspective songwriting; words that any young woman will easily relate to. “The nights are getting longer, the pain is getting stronger,” she gripes on “Fear Of My Idenity.” Later, she says “I don’t recognize who I see in the morning” on the aptly-named “Who Have I Become?”
“Baby I’m Crying” is a standout track; a winsome, country-inspired guitar ballad that rips and jangles between Cosentino’s open wounds. “My life has come and gone so fast/I can’t remember much from the past,” she claims, which sounds silly for a young woman of 26. Then again, we’ve all been there– or are there right now (cough cough)– which makes each track on Fade Away all the more real, raw, and satisfying.