Best Coast is a state of mind. The reverberated guitars, smooth vocals, and lyrics about crushes on boys, crushes on California, or crushes on crushes, all serve to take the brain and shift it into this place of solitary love-sickness, or perhaps just lackadaisical beach bumming. Best Coast's debut, Crazy For You, was full of this attractive laziness, and the production matched-- guitars were tubular, and the glean of the coat of reverb splashed on every track was a welcome blurring of the edges. Now with producer Jon Brion, famed for his epic fights against the sophomore slump (see Late Registration for more details on his successes), Best Coast is a bit more polished, but no less sunny.
Lead singer Bethany Cosentino's subject material remains the same, and for good reason. The band wouldn't be the same without her obsession with her home state, her cat snacks, and her lust for boys. It seems everyone knows this, as the titular Place is clearly the Golden State, and like most of the album, it exists on the surface level and is easy to read. If you're looking for a natural continuation of the work Best Coast produced on Crazy For You, then you're in luck-- The Only Place is a worthy successor, tightening the right screws, and maintaining all the qualities that make Best Coast a great summery outdoor option. But unlike her counterpart Wavves, who went from sloppy atonal doofus to accomplished pop constructionist seemingly overnight, if you're expecting anything radically different from Best Coast this time around, you're going to be disappointed. She was already on the money the first time around, and here she subscribes to the popular credo, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."