Indie-electro rock outfit Coasts have drawn comparisons to everything from Two Door Cinema Club to Phoenix, since they formed in Bristol in 2011. The members met at university and spent their summer after graduating, writing material and rehearsing, and made their first live appearance in 2012.
A bout of extensive touring and festival appearances followed the released of their debut single and debut EP, which culminated in “A Rush of Blood” and “Oceans”, two singles which have received critical acclaim. The band signed a record deal with Warner Music in the UK and Capitol Records in the USA in late 2014, and released their self-titled debut album in early 2016.
The album kicks off with the aforementioned “Oceans”, which embodies everything the band is about; the typical sun-soaked indie rock and the soaring euphoria of youth, both in lyrics and in sound. “Oceans” personally could be considered the strongest track on the album.
The band sing on the chorus, “we fell in love right by the ocean / made all our plans down on the sand”, and with its summery riff and even summerier outlook, even during the slightly darker bridge, it makes one want to… well, fall in love by the ocean and make all one’s plans down on the sand.
“Wolves” intro kicks off with vocals reminiscent of a more engineered Bastille, with those samples permeating an ecstatic account of escaping into a wild adventure on a Friday night. Its succeeding track “You”, another one of the strongest tracks on the album in my opinion, sees its verses followed by an impassioned chorus of “You make me feel / Like I’m holding on to something real” that one gets an urge to scream along with at a festival.
The first few seconds of “Modern Love” seem like they will lead into a dance track, but the dramatic swell from then to the first verse, reminiscent of Hurts, cuts through. The descriptions of the scenes and events in the first verses are palpable and immediate in their list-like composition, and the honesty of the later bridge “I just wanna stay strong / Been waiting for your love so long / I just wanna stay strong / Been waiting for your touch” adds a touch of fragility.
“Lions” precedes “Stay”, the latter of which starts off with a typical chipper summery indie rock sound, and explores the flip-side of the pervading theme of youth in the album; the side of naivety and unpreparedness of losing something that one has grown so accustomed to. This is embodied in the pre-chorus line “I said I want you to stay / ’Cause baby, you’re all that I know”. The soaring backing vocals accompanying the chorus add a touch of urgency to the already impassioned lyrics pleading for the subject’s lover to stay.
“A Rush Of Blood” follows with a fragile account of trying to better oneself in order to be what one’s lover needs. The pre-chorus “I could be your hero if you want me to / You’ve got to show me how” embodies this, and with its rich backing track that is partly the band’s typical sound and partly something other, one can see why “A Rush Of Blood” is one of their two most critically acclaimed songs.
“Your Soul” follows in a similar vein, and leads into “Wash Away”, which stands out among the rest of the songs on the album, starting off with a less optimistic, more sombre intro. The crescendo in the instrumental backs the chorus, which is a catchy repetition of the song’s title.
The intro of the final song “Tonight” is back to Coasts’ usual sound, with a catchy indie rock-style riff. The first chorus “‘Cause tonight / When we are together / You bring me to life / And my world starts to blur” is a capella and ends with a reverb that leads in to a repetition overlaid with the upbeat backing track.
I think this is a very solid debut album, with some tracks stronger than others, but with a high standard upheld throughout. I’d recommend this album to anybody who is generally a fan of chipper, upbeat indie rock/pop, and who wants an album they can blast in the mornings to get their spirits up and get their day started on a summery high. Coasts is out now via Warner Music UK, purchase it on iTunes here.
Words by Martina Toth