Music Review: Best Coast finds new life in an old formula on California Nights

If reviewers talk about pretty much the same thing in every Best Coast review, it’s because Best Coast does pretty much the same thing on every album. Despite a few variations in delivery—country-influenced here, hazy dream pop there—what remains constant are the band’s soaring, summery melodies and catchy choruses. That’s what people like about Best Coast, and what makes the band, if not critic-proof, at least critic-resistant.

But where its past few experiments have yielded mediocre results, California Nights, Best Coast’s major-label debut, is more successful. Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno have left the lo-fi aesthetic behind in favor of a big, anthemic guitar sound, which turns out to be just what was needed to disguise the now-characteristic weaknesses in Cosentino’s songwriting. Producer Wally Gagel piles layers upon layers of guitars on top of each other without burying Cosentino’s vocals, producing a …

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