The Only Place is Best Coast’sÂ follow-up to their 2010’s acclaimed albumÂ Crazy For You, and it finds the proudly SouthernÂ Californian duo ofÂ Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno maturing in both theirÂ sound and perspective. WhileÂ CrazyÂ For YouÂ was a nostalgic tribute toÂ teenage feelings,Â The Only PlaceÂ finds front woman CosentinoÂ starting aÂ transition into adulthood. “I’m trying really hard to grow up,” she says. “I’mÂ trying to letÂ go of my bad habits and the immature things I still drag aroundÂ with me.”
Of course this adjustingÂ comes with uncertainty and self-doubt, two feelings at the emotionalÂ center ofÂ the album.Â The Only PlaceÂ alsoÂ celebrates Los Angeles, the one place whereÂ Cosentino believes she can be theÂ woman she wants to be. Taken all together, it evocativelyÂ captures a turbulentÂ era in one person’s life.Â “This record was therapeutic for me to write,”Â Cosentino says. “But a lot of the issues I was facing will be relatable toÂ anybody.”
As with all of Best Coast’sÂ previous recordings, onÂ The Only PlaceÂ Cosentino handles allÂ songwriting, lyrics, vocals and rhythm guitar, while multi-instrumentalist BobbÂ Bruno plays leadÂ guitar, bass and drums. What’s new this time is their decisionÂ to work with producer andÂ composer Jon Brion. A revered figure in the musicÂ world, Brion has collaborated with artistsÂ including Fiona Apple and Kanye WestÂ and created the scores for such films asÂ EternalÂ Sunshine of the SpotlessÂ MindÂ andÂ Punch-Drunk Love. Â Recorded at Capitol Records’ famed Studio B,Â TheÂ Only PlaceÂ features a cleaner andÂ richer sound than other Best CoastÂ releases. Many of the songs’ arrangements are detailed withÂ subtle percussionÂ and unexpected instrumentation. Intricate but never overworked, the biggestÂ change from previous releases is how it showcases Cosentino’s voice, this timeÂ letting it ringÂ clear, unhidden by distortion and reverb.
The Only PlaceÂ is full ofÂ heartbreakers and kiss-offs. Â But the true heart ofÂ The Only Place, and everything that BestÂ Coast does, is the collaborationÂ between Cosentino and Bruno. For this albumÂ the pair continued to work with the system theyÂ developed during the band’sÂ unassuming beginnings: Cosentino creates a rough demo of eachÂ song on her ownÂ with vocals and a basic guitar part, then sends it to Bruno who fleshes out theÂ instrumentation and structure. The only time they work on the song together isÂ when they are inÂ the studio. Bruno is a music veteran and has recorded,Â producer and engineered with a wideÂ variety of artists.Â “BestÂ Coast is the easiest thing I’ve ever done musically,” he says. “We don’tÂ reallyÂ argue. I told Beth from day one, ‘If you ever don’t like something I’m doing orÂ you want toÂ change something, just tell me. I know it’s not personal. MyÂ feeling aren’t going to get hurt.’Â Having established that before we evenÂ played a single note together, we’ve always had clearÂ communication.” CosentinoÂ adds, “This record would not have been anywhere near what it isÂ without BobbÂ Bruno. I owe so much to him. I am so thankful have him in my life and havingÂ himÂ turn these things I write in my bedroom into epic songs.”
Since the album’s release, Best Coast has toured concert halls and festival stages around the world, appeared on David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien and the cover of Spin Magazine, featured in a Microsoft television commercial and in campaigns for Bushmills, Clarks and Rdio, created a fashion line for Urban Outfitters, dueted with Iggy Pop and Kendrick Lamar, had music featured on Girls and The New Girl, and will be opening the entire Green Day arena tour in 2013.
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