Shine wears off sunny pop
The Only Place
The Californian duo's debut album, Crazy for You, was one of the highpoints of 2010 -- its hazy, widescreen pop, boasting elements of garage rock, an unmitigated delight.
The Only Place doesn't stray from the template all that much and as the incandescent title track ably demonstrates, why fix it if it ain't broke? It's a joyful, heady pop gem that should light up festivals everywhere this summer, a modern take on California Girls as Bethany Cosentino sings: "We've got the ocean, got the babes/Got the sun, we've got the waves."
I wouldn't be too surprised if a rabble of quirky US indie filmmakers were fighting tooth and claw to have the song soundtrack their movie.
One of the things that made their debut so special was the lo-fi production that gave it a playful, homespun feel. Here, the songs have been buffed in the studio and just a shade of the magic has been lost.
And there are more substantial problems too, not least in the myriad introspective songs that find Cosentino in Carole King mode. Her bid to be a confessional singer-songwriter in the Laurel Canyon vein leaves quite a bit to be desired, as evidenced on the mawkish Why I Cry.
Key tracks The Only Place; Let's Go Home
Day & Night