Best Coast Credit: Eddie Chacon

California duo Best Coast are a long way away from the bite-size stoner love songs and sun-drenched slacker tales of their 2010 debut album, Crazy for You. On their brand-new fourth LP, Always Tomorrow (Concord), singer-songwriter and guitarist Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno pair beefed-up power chords with clear-eyed observations, a newfound sense of optimism, and an ambitious look toward the future. It’s the band’s most straightforward rock ’n’ roll record to date, but it still has echoes of the SoCal skater vibe and lo-fi pop-punk warmth that defined their breakthrough tunes, such as Crazy for You’s “When I’m With You” and “Boyfriend.” Cosentino and Bruno have honed their one-two punch of 60s melodies and laid-back rhythms (“True” will surely tug at the heartstrings of Best Coast purists) while trading fuzzy distortion for bold, slick riffs and snappy percussion. Cosentino’s mighty vocals flavor “Graceless Kids,” “Rollercoaster” and “Make It Last,” which balance new life lessons and “work in progress” reality checks (she got sober in 2017) with the overwhelmingly positive vibes emanating from the album as a whole. While 2015’s California Nights portrayed a lovestruck woman afraid to let go, Cosentino has better topics to address now: becoming the master of her own mind, getting tired of writing about the same old unhealthy behaviors and relationships (“Seeing Red”), and finding the power in shedding her former self (“Different Light”). Culminating with “Used to Be,” a slow-burning, shoegaze-tinged anthem that nods to the band’s arena aspirations, Always Tomorrow showcases Best Coast’s evolution and sharpened focus—and Cosentino finally seems ready to sing a different kind of song.   v