Devil's charms

Coastgaard's Devil on the Balcony surfs the retro wave

There's an upbeat, playful aesthetic at work on Coastgaard's second album
  • There's an upbeat, playful aesthetic at work on Coastgaard's second album

Though Brooklyn-based indie rockers Coastgaard build their music on a foundation of surf rock, their approach is some distance from that of surf revivalists like Los Straitjackets. There's an upbeat, playful aesthetic at work on the group's second album, Devil on the Balcony, one that places them closer to groups such as Sloan or Fountains of Wayne.

"Black & White Fuzz"

...by Coastgaard, off of their sophomore set, <em>Devil on the Balcony</em>

...by Coastgaard, off of their sophomore set, Devil on the Balcony

A unified sonic approach is the glue that holds together the dozen tunes on Devil: reverbed guitars, fuzz bass lines, straight-ahead drums, and washes of keyboard all serve to support Matt Miller's lead vocals.

A sense of history pervades the album: the sweet melody of “Dear Nessie” recalls Elvis Costello's early 1980s work. “A Well Adjusted Man” and “Landmines” are the disc's most overtly surf-rock-flavored tunes — and they're also among the best here — but Coastgaard's compositional skills extend beyond the genre. One has to wait until nearly halfway through Devil for a guitar solo (“Fur”), and that's followed by some very evocative Mellotron, then some musical dialogue between wah-wah guitar and piano. This is a disc that rewards the listener who allows the full extent of the album's charms to reveal itself.

  • Record: Devil on the Balcony
  • Artist: Coastgaard
  • Label: eOne
  • Songs: (1) Ruminator (2) Black White Fuzz (3) Old Casino (4) Dear Nessie (5) A Well Adjusted Man (6) Fur (7) Genevieve (8) Landmines (9) Ruminator (10) Something Misty (11) Killer Swan (12) College Song

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