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Album Review
You're Never Going Back

You're Never Going Back
by Coasting

M'Lady Records

Review Date
22nd March, 2012
Reviewed by
Courtney Sanders

On album You’re Never Going Back American by way of New Zealand duo Coasting marry their various geographical influences into a thorough DIY debut.

Fiona Campbell (now the drummer in New-Cali-originators Vivian Girls) is originally from New Zealand, earning her stripes in cult post-punk band The Coolies (who should release something soon pretty please), while Madison Farmer hails from Memphis. The two met and wrote You’re Never Going Back in New York and all this geographical information is important because it’s easy to dismiss Coasting – interesting choice of name – as another Californ-I-A band; drenched in back-lit light and nostalgia - they do write girl-fronted D.I.Y pop ballads after all. But to group them with similarly titled bands with similar aesthetics and a similar fondness for cats would be to miss their punk shtick; an attitude and sound across their debut record that sets it apart from so many of its contemporaries.

There’s a couple of obvious stylistic cornerstones on You’re Never Going Back. The first is the purposeful minimalism of the instrumentation and recording. From opener ‘Starts and Stays’ the drums crash toward their surroundings like a jackhammer to concrete. No buffering present, every rattle and scrape is only further pronounced by the frequent silences; breaks in the tracks that are left purposefully – and one imagines, logistically – blank. That’s not to say the duo can’t fill a room – as the cacophonous climaxes in ‘Kids’ and ‘Same Old Same Old’ proves, all staccato drumming and wailing ‘Oohs and Aah’s’ – it’s that when they do they want you to really notice it, which, considering the jarring, stand-up-and-listen nature of the drumming, rings doubly true.

Then there’s Madison Farmer’s voice. Simultaneously nonchalant and emotionally resonant, it exemplifies the diverse personalities of each track on You’re Never Going Back. The fifth track ‘Four Hours’ is one of romantic reflection; the sun setting on good times turned sour. As Farmer drags the shiny lyric ‘It always worked out / So it seemed / For Hours’ across a gravelly riff one gets the feeling that it probably didn’t work out, not as planned anyway.

It’s the dichotomy of sugar coating the delivery of something so raw that is Coasting’s trademark. Farmer and Campbell’s ability to harmonize in a lilting, choir-like manner all-the-while smashing their instruments along to a melancholic motif cements a complexity to the duo apparent after multiple listens remove any initial, easy-breezy comparisons. The pop of the West Coast still resides in each track, but it’s the vehicle for an aggressive, upset driver.

You’re Never Going Back proves that if Coasting were ever to write a track about the beach it would be about someone getting attacked by a shark, and from their delivery you’d be mistaken for thinking this was a good thing.


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