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The Coast Is Never Clear

Beulah

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Album Review

After the dazzling reception of 1999's When Your Heartstrings Break, Beulah wasn't concerned with following things up with something fashionable. The bandmembers were near masters of crafting the perfect pop song — for themselves — and quite comfortable with the process. The Coast Is Never Clear captures Beulah's classy cool indie pop, akin to what came before. Singer/songwriter Miles Kurosky's quirky lyrical rants are spry, and the personal experiences behind each song allude to Beulah's unabashed nature. From the twangy licks of the bittersweet "Popular Mechanics for Lovers" to the psychedelic soul tinker of "A Good Man Is Easy to Kill," Beulah gives way to a breaking heart. Sulking and wistful, the theme works and it's not beyond measure. The pop melodies are relaxed; the harmonies are solid. "I'll Be Your Lampshade" is Beulah's country take, with sweeping horns and a sad, pathetic harmonica wallowing over a lost love. It's not necessarily fit for tears, but The Coast Is Never Clear isn't necessarily joyless. The band is sarcastically sweet on "What Will You Do When Your Suntan Fades?," while emulating what everyone has faced in the role of eager, adoring wooer. Beulah's indie cred cannot be tarnished with The Coast Is Never Clear. It's not strict rock music — it's basic. And it's good.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Beulah's Miles Kurosky and Bill Swan first started off as officemates, working the mail room at a security firm in their native San Francisco in 1994. While having a small dislike for one another, Kurosky and Swan did share a fondness for music. They two put their animosity aside in 1996 and spent the next year and a half mastering a lo-fi, indie rock style and recording songs. This resulted in the release of the A Small Cattle Drive in a Snow Storm 7" in 1997. Anne Mellinger joined the group in...
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