As discussed, I’ve been pretty slack of late, so I’m going to try and crack through some of my backlog over the next few days, beginning with this one, the debut album from Best Coast.

As discussed, I’ve been pretty slack of late, so I’m going to try and crack through some of my backlog over the next few days, beginning with this one, the debut album from Best Coast.

Comically late on Best Coast, of course, since Bethany Cosentino seems to have become the hipster media pin-up of the summer. In the unlikely event you’ve missed “Crazy For You”, though, it’s well worth a go. I’m not over-keen on much of the C86-style revivalism that’s come out of the States over the past couple of years, but Best Coast seem vastly superior to most of their contemporaries – and, frankly, to their indie antecedents.

It’d be very convenient to ascribe this to Cosentino’s leftfield past as part of Pocahaunted, when she was much keener on presenting herself as some psychedelic prankster witch rather than cute, cat-infatuated stoner. Out of an expansive backhistory, I can definitely recommend Pocahaunted’s “Passage”, featuring prominent collaborations with the fine Cameron Stallones (Sun Araw, Magic Lantern etc) and Bobb Bruno – the latter ostensibly the other half of Best Coast.

The strength of “Crazy For You”, though, doesn’t come from any pagan drone just beneath the surface, or even buried deeper in its DNA. Instead, I think it’s predicated on the simple and excellent qualities of the songs, and the way Cosentino and Bruno manage to bypass a lot of the hairslide indie bullshit that has accumulated around this sort of music for the past 25 years, establishing instead a very warm and more direct connection with the ‘60s girl group and surf records.

So it’s pretty easy to listen to something like, say, “Our Deal” or “I Want To” (since it’s playing as I write), and concentrate just on the elegaic way they have with a certain set of Californian adolescence images. Reverb probably has a lot to do with it, and also the unexpected heft of Cosentino’s voice. No-one on 53rd & 3rd or Sarah sang as well as this, if I remember right: perhaps the best contemporary match would be Jenny Lewis, another wry Los Angelean who’s successfully transcended indie-pop parochialism. A lovely record, anyhow.