Sees the Light

La SeraMarch 26, 2012
Indie℗ 2012 Hardly Art
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Love That's Gone3:38
Please Be My Third Eye2:26
I Can't Keep You in My Mind2:43
Break My Heart2:08
It's Over Now4:25
I'm Alone2:34
Real Boy3:15
Drive On3:09
How Far We've Come Now3:17
Don't Stay2:32
14 total

Additional Information

Total length
March 26, 2012
℗ 2012 Hardly Art
File type
Access type
Streaming and by permanent download to your computer and/or device
Internet connection
Required for streaming and downloading
Playback information
Via Google Play Music app on Android v4+, iOS v7+, or by exporting MP3 files to your computer and playing on any MP3 compatible music player
On their second full-length album, Correct Behavior, the indie pop duo Eternal Summers change a few things up from the start. First off, they are no longer a duo, having added a bass player to fill out the sound. Secondly, they handed over final mixing chores to the outside team of Alonzo Vargas and the Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner. The changes ensure two things. Instead of the slightly rambunctious, amateur feel of Silver, this album rocks mightily right from the beginning. The bass gives their spiky pop some punch, and the mix is loud and expansive with lead-off track "Millions" booming out of the speakers like a lost Breeders classic at twice the tempo with most of the record following suit accordingly. Guitarist Nicole Yun's vocals have a newfound power and she's not afraid to really belt it out and ride the electric wave the group creates. At first it's a little disconcerting, and you might find yourself lamenting the loss of the intimacy of the first album, but the songs are so good and delivered with such verve that resistance is futile. By the time they drop in a midtempo track five songs in (the lovely "It's Easy"), it's desperately needed for breath-catching purposes. The second half of the record is nearly as vigorous, with wiry New Wave ("Girls in the City") and sludgy noise pop ("Heaven and Hell") facing off against a couple more quiet songs (the very pretty "Good as You" and the lo-fi "Summerset" which ends the album bedroom-style) that prove Yun can still sing the quiet songs with a light touch. It's always a neat trick for a band that started off its life as a D.I.Y. proposition to make even a small step into the circle of hell that is professional rock & roll and not come off looking and sounding worse for having made the attempt. Eternal Summers dip a pinky toe into the swirling miasma of big-time indie rock on Correct Behavior and manage to emerge unscathed, and perhaps even better for having done so. It's an impressive statement of intent and an operational success, but more importantly than that, they made a really great indie pop record that sounds great and is loads of fun to listen to repeatedly. Good luck getting the rest of your foot in there next time though....
For their second album, The Only Place, California duo Best Coast hired Jon Brion as producer. Right away it's clear that the fuzzily lo-fi noise pop sound of their debut, Crazy for You, was a thing of the past, and the band was looking to smooth things out quite noticeably. Hiring Brion to produce a noise pop record is like asking Rothko to paint your mailbox. What he and the band have done is replace the simplistic drone of the distorted guitars with a more layered, much janglier sound, added tons of space to the arrangements, and made sure each song gets the sonic approach it needs instead of the set-it-up-and-record-it style of Crazy. The result is an album that has a classic pop/rock sound that anyone who's heard an R.E.M. or Beach Boys or Springsteen record will instantly identify with and understand. It may disappoint anyone who wanted Crazy for You, Pt. 2, but the band didn't make this record for those people. On a sonic level alone, the record works very well. Bethany Cosentino reliably writes super-catchy melodies and sings them winningly, Bobb Bruno does a fine job filling in the songs with hooky guitar lines, and Brion adds the little touches that have made his name as a producer. The uptempo songs have a light bounce that will have people bopping along, the ballads have fully realized arrangements that sound dreamy as can be, and the whole record has a warmth that was missing from anything the band did before. The problem lies with Cosentino's awful lyrics. What seemed cute and only a little awkward in the past is now extremely clunky and slightly ridiculous. That her lyrics are shallow isn't such a big deal -- it didn't ruin Crazy -- but the real problem is that this time they are gratingly personal to the point of being like diary entries (as on "My Life" with the lines "My mom was right/I don't wanna die/I wanna live my life") or smug (on her title-track ode to California that includes the deathless rhyme "We've got the ocean, we've got the babes/We've got the sun, we've got the waves") or just plain boring and/or embarrassing (most everywhere else). Instead of making Crazy for You, Pt. 2, she's made Crazy for Me, Me, Me. When lyrics are so endlessly, inwardly directed as they are on The Only Place, there needs to be some spark of something interesting cooking in there, or the result will be an album that looks like a delicious cake but tastes like sawdust and chalk when you bite into it. Give the group credit for taking a step forward from Crazy for You: the album sounds great, full of catchy and well-crafted songs. Too bad it all falls apart so drastically when you factor in Cosentino's disastrous lyrics.
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