Despite it going against everything Bethany Cosentino is usually known for, we have to admit that our favourite moment of hers so far is the surprisingly vulnerable, low-key Up All Night from second album The Only Place. Catching Cosentino at her least frivolous, there was an element of stripped-back depth there that we hoped would translate into new mini-album, Fade Away. While it’s back to surf-rock tricks as usual for Best Coast, there’s none of that slow stuff; instead there’s a heady mix of influences, from (what sounds like) Avril Lavigne to the Mazzy Star-tinged beauty Baby I’m Crying. By now, it’s very simple to predict what a Best Coast record will entail and while there’s nothing groundbreaking here at all (though Who Have I Become is a career highlight), it continues to be generally inoffensive and a welcome middle-ground between her first two albums.
Ironically on the other, drearier coast, there’s someone doing sun-soaked a mite better than Cosentino. There’s a lot of hoopla around Jo’burg-raised, New York-based St Lucia, aka Jean-Philip Grobler – particularly as Elevate became the most feelgood triumph of the summer, in our eyes – and debut album When The Night is a strong effort from the electronic-pop merchant. It’s impossible not to be swept up by the 80s-tinged euphoria (particularly Toto-esque on Wait For Love); there’s a lot to be said for the slow-burn of opener The Night Comes Again, and the huge pop moment that is September. There’s nothing remotely nocturnal about When The Night; in fact there are so many sunny moments in this album we feel like we’ve topped up our tan just listening to it.