I feel biased writing about this. Being from the Golden State, I'm an easy target for singer Bethany Cosentino and guitar Bob Bruno's good-time anthems. With a strength in simplicity, and building on what the two started with on their debut, Crazy for You, the duo don't strive much newness here, and that's perfectly fine. The Only Place confronts a direction often mishandled, one that can lead to not-much-more than generic deviation, been there heard that. But with Cosentino's passion for the basics, this works. Her odes to California, to hanging out, all juvenile and sweet, somehow escape the doldrums of pop music's incessant repeating of itself. I think it's in their comfortability with what they are, that it escape irony or convention. Anyhow, and more importantly, it's an album full to the brim of melodies that you'll find yourself humming. These are songs built on basic structures, Bruno's guitar hooks, bopping along drums and basslines, earnest vocal sing-alongs. Highlights include ‰ÛÏNo One Like You", "Let's Go Home", sounds that almost conjure up a Spingsteen-inspired band playing at your imaginary college party, some strange but earnest combination of 90s indie rock and Beach Boys era surf- pop. It may all sound too cheeky at first glance, but give it a good listen on a hot summer's day and try to tell me it isn't exactly what you needed. Recommended, and beyond seasonally; a fundamentally fun record.
- music label: Mexican Summer 2012