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The Coast Is Never Clear

Beulah

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iTunes Review

Essence of California, distilled, clarified, and boiled down to 40 minutes of pure pop pleasure: The Coast Is Never Clear is an unjustly ignored masterpiece of musical mad science. Singer Miles Kurosky writes gorgeously textured orchestral pop that builds on a base of Pavement-style guitar rock, borrows from the Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach, and Herb Alpert, then — what the hell — throws in hints of lounge, bossa nova, punk, and country, setting the whole over bitterly ironic lyrics delivered with a cynic’s detachment. It’s a heady mixture, equal parts sun and smog. “Gene Autry” juxtaposes fuzzed-out guitars, cheerfully tinkling piano, strings, and mariachi-style horns with a chiming bell that announces the world’s chipperest downer of a chorus: “When the city spreads out, just like a cut vein/ Everybody drowns, sad and lonely.” The countrified lope of “Popular Mechanics for Lovers” morphs into 60s bubblegum at the chorus and smirkily references Stephin Merritt in a verse before lapsing into apparent sincerity as the production drops down to just piano and reverb-y voice. Just about every song on here performs the same kind of aural gymnastics. Trumpet, flute, tambourine, handclaps, sun-kissed harmonies, and irresistible hooks: it might all be too clever by half, were it not for the immaculate production—and the occasional lyric that reaches out, grabs you by the shoulders, and gives a little shake: “I don’t know about God/ But I believe in you.”

Customer Reviews

Genius

This album was the best thing to happen on September 11, 2001. It is absolutely brilliant!

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...
Full bio

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