BEST COAST- California Nights.

4 05 2015

“I don’t really mind
All of this wasted time
Just wish that I had something to show for it.”

Best Coast are one of those bands that magically take you to a place that you possibly can’t ever afford to go. In my case, I’m far too broke and too much of a coward to go on a plane for longer than 50 minutes. Best Coast take you by the hand and take you to a Californian beach. With their past records they have taken us on some ethereal journeys to the West Coast, their latest and probably best release, California Nights is no exception.

With Best Coast, I always seem to hold some sentimental value to Bethany’s lyrics. Some that in time will eventually leave me be, the rest will probably irk me for a few more years. You adapt and can sometimes forget.  Crazy For You had songs on it that were a constant reminder, The Only Place was easier to listen to and Fade Away made it easy to be an adult. Where does that leave California Nights? The escape route, easily.

The record consists of songs about leaving, growing up, being unsure and general growing pains. There are many bands that can write in a vulnerable manner but there is something about the way Bethany does it that makes you feel as if you’re the one she’s writing about. It is exactly as if she’s got in your head and wrote every nagging thought you had down and projected them for the world to hear.

Every band has that one record that defines their career and becomes their defining record.Combined with the growth in Bethany’s lyrics and Bobb’s ability to take you on some lucid trip with his ridiculous guitar skills, these are just some of the factors that make California Nights their defining record. They’ve gone from fast-paced sun-kissed tracks to hazy sunset and anthemic gems for the lost. Their sound has grown into a fully fledged adult still flailing in that awkward stage. Listening to California Nights is like falling in love, finding pieces of yourself and getting to grips with self-acceptance. Thing is, it doesn’t matter if others don’t like you or accept you. If you don’t accept yourself, then it can get difficult. I know. I know. Records like this make it so much easier to feel alright in your skin. Even if you dislike it.

It is fair to say that this record is one of the best this year. It just shows how strong a band Best Coast are. California Nights is the essence of looking into the sunset on your own, as the sun sinks into the sea with a cool yet calming breeze circling around you. It is the sound of the summer that you can feel all year, that’s the backbone of Best Coast and it is much stronger and a lot clearer in this record. The songs on this record can mend and fix a person all at once. The songs on California Nights are what daydreams are made of. Full of hope and courage at best. Songs like Jealousy see the wrong in how people behave, songs like In My Eyes make you think of the wrongs you are trying to correct even if nobody wants to know, songs like When Will I Change are like coming to terms with everything around you. The art of growing up is underlying in this gorgeous record. There is so much to say about this record; it’s the kind you sit down with someone and talk about how bloody brilliant it is. Or you could be a sad case like myself and write about it!

The vulnerability in the songs is what makes this record so damn honest and easy to connect with. I’ve read reviews about this record that say that every song sounds the same, they haven’t grown. The same old shit from those who like to be mean. Maybe it’s because I really do love this band a hell of a lot that I can’t see why anyone would slate it. Maybe I’ve got some sentiment clinging to this record that I daren’t let a bad word be said. Or maybe, just maybe I can hear a band that I’ve been a fan of for so long and who mean a lot to me, have become the band that they deserve to be. The lo-fi sound isn’t as prominent as it once was but the subtle angst peaks through and when you feel it, it’s something to really treasure.

Whether you’re a stroppy teen or an uncomfortable adult, guaranteed there are songs on this record that will make you feel as if it was written for you. Maybe it was because really, nobody likes feeling alone.

I’ll stand by the title track being the most euphoric on the record and is easily one of my favourite songs of the year, but I feel with this record that each song, with every listen they will become a favourite. There are no album fillers and there aren’t any dull moments on this record. It’s a record to take a long walk to, to listen to on your bed at 2am when you can’t sleep, to wander aimlessly up and down the beach to, to get lost and found to. Just let this record become your world, let it be the soundtrack to the summer and beyond. Records like this make you proud to be a fan of a band you quite simply adore.





MORRISSEY-World Peace Is None Of Your Business.

8 07 2014

 

“I turned silences and nights into words.

What was unutterable, I wrote down.

I made the whirling world stand still.” 

                        -Arthur Rimbaud

 

There is no greater feeling than your favourite singer releasing a record. You wait, you ache and you wait some more leading up to it. You tremble in the first listen knowing you are listening to something truly remarkable. It doesn’t matter who this singer/band is to you, it’s just a mutual feeling. Especially when that person is more than likely responsible for you still being alive….just. Sort of. Depends on the day.

Could I ever write an unbiased piece on Morrissey? No. Will I defend him? Yes, well..within reason. Do I think World Peace is his best work? Of course. Lord knows how long Morrissey fans have been waiting for this. And of course, the cynics will come out in their masses to find fault in it. They probably like Kings Of Leon or something equally dull.

World Peace Is None Of Your Business is flamboyantly clever, dry and accurate. It is everything I adore about Morrissey. I thought after reading his biography a handful of times I really understood my love and admiration for him, but I was wrong. But when am I ever right. I thought  understood my love for him, turns out I didn’t. Not quite.World Peace is lyrically a work of art, and I will gladly place it next to Vauxhall And I as his best work. He has this way of getting to the root of an emotion, churning it out and spitting it out for you to taste. And when you do, you understand. You understand whatever it is that is choking you.

I’m Not A Man is lyrically one of the strongest songs on the record as it dips into society’s skewed vision of what it is to be a man. A nod to Meat Is Murder of sorts is hinted in the line, “I’d never kill or eat an animal, and I never would destroy this planet I’m on.” Man destroys, and Morrissey’s sensitive and gentle disposition feels out of place on this planet. You don’t have to be a man to identify with this, you just have to human. Gentle and kind.

As I listen to the record, I start to make sense of my love for Morrissey. It’s his words and how he uses them. There’s always been comfort for me in his words. If I could communicate using his lyrics, I’d probably feel less awkward in my skin. Too much skin. He has this way of telling it like it is without being grand or pretentious, although some would argue that he is. If that’s the case then they’ve probably never paid any attention to his lyrics. His words are why he is a hero to so many.

I’ve read a few reviews where they comment on how tight his band sound, but I don’t know enough about Music to comment on that. Boz is there still, so I’m happy. As I listen to World Peace Is None Of Your Business, I am visualising these songs live. Kiss Me A Lot is one I hope he puts into his live shows- at his longing best, this song is glorious. Earth Is The Loneliest Planet has one simple line in it that just means everything, a simple line that holds so much; “But you’re in the wrong skin.”If I heard that line whilst a teenager teetering into adulthood, it would have been a touch easier. As an adult, well..I think it still does the same as it would.

Staircase At The University has the same kind of dark humour that is found in Girlfriend In A Coma. The pressures of a young girl excelling in her studies to which she finally packs it all in, and throws herself down some stairs. Splitting her head in three ways. I love the line, “And if it breaks your heart then don’t come running to me.” You can relate that to anyone, it doesn’t have to be someone who is constantly studying. We all know that one person….

Kick The Bride Down The Aisle is a stroke of genius for this alone; “You’re that stretch of the beach that the tide doesn’t reach. No meaning, no reason . The lonely season.” I can’t help but wonder where he comes up with these wonderful words, and how. And in Mountjoy we’ve got the gorgeous statement; “What those in power do to you reminds us at a glance, how humans hate each others guts. And show it given a chance.” If you want an understanding of how shitty the human race can be, just listen to Mountjoy.

There will be mixed views on this record, some will declare it as his best work to date. Some will yearn for past releases. It is his tenth solo record, you can’t possibly expect him to keep making the same one over and over again! He just excels himself with every record, and he will last longer than those who put him down. You won’t win.

I’ll end this with a section of lyrics that I feel are entirely true, and are a highlight for me. A selection of lyrics that I believe in and treasure. In all his delicate, honest and observant nature, he just says it all so beautifully:

“Slamming one shots, gentle pain
Someone calling out my name
Sex and love are not the same.”

World Peace Is None Of Your Business just reinforces my love, respect and admiration for Morrissey. I could have mentioned this, I could have mentioned that. Maybe I’ll re-read this and add more. But for now, I’ll stick with this being one of the best records of the year.

VIVA MOZ.