The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Male Bonding rocks, Best Coast cruises

Fast and distorted with thumping drums and chorus centric muffled vocals is how London’s Male Bonding play. The trio, made up of Kevin Hendrick (bass, vocals), Robin Silas Christian (drums) and John Arthur Webb (guitar, vocals), released their debut album, “Nothing Hurts,” in May of this year. With 13 tracks spread out over only 29 minutes, these songs go by just as fast as they are played. Most of the songs consist of a thin sounding guitar riff, ever-pounding drums, a thick, rapid-fire bass line with the vocals often buried underneath it all. The lyrics are frequently vague—there is ample mention of “something” or “this” without any elaboration or details—though this can hardly be considered a shortcoming. If you want to get your energy out before relaxing with Best Coast, the guys in this hunky British opening act are the perfect chaps to rock your ears off.

Best Coast

Best Coast, the band comprised of leading lady Bethany Cosentino (vocals, guitar), Ali Koekner (drums) and Bobb Bruno (whatever instrument any given song requires) rose to Pitchfork-fueled indie prominence over the past year with the release of their EP, “Where the Boys Are,” followed by their full-length debut, “Crazy For You.”

Best Coast’s songs are frequently composed of a ’60s surf-pop backbone melodically matched with lyrics concerning pot, boys and the confusion mixed with loneliness that stems from troubled relationships with each factor. “Oh, I wish he was my boyfriend,” Cosentino pleads bluntly on the first single on “Crazy For You,” “Boyfriend,” though she is not oblivious to potential reasons why she is on the outside, pining to be in— “She’s prettier and skinnier/She has a college degree/I dropped out when I was seventeen.” This is the first track on a 12-song album with track names ranging from “The End” to “Our Deal” to the direct “I Want To.”

Although there is little thematic change in Best Coast’s song range, they have arguably perfected the formula they use. “Want to hate you but then I kiss/Want to kill you but then I’d miss you,” Cosentino sings on the album’s title track as she quite cleverly describes the frustration of a troubled relationship.
At her best, Cosentino’s words attest to the possibility that complex emotions can lead to simple desires, while at her worst she sounds like a lonely girl who has smoked a bit too much weed (“I always freak when I get high”), which might be a contributing factor in her desperate attachment both to a nebulous “you” (“I want to be with you all of the time”) and to her cat (“I wish my cat could talk).” Her brand of somber honesty—a woman saying things that society might think are better kept to herself—is reminiscent of early Liz Phair, which makes even her most repetitive and simple songs redeemable.
More than anything, Best Coast’s live show on Friday, Sept. 17 at 9 p.m. in Gardner Lounge should be a fun show that does not ask much of the listener, except maybe to dance a little and listen to what’s on one stoner chick’s mind.

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