BEST COAST, Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Evening Standard, 21 June 2012

If this music lark doesn’t work out, Bethany Cosentino ought to be able to land a job at the California tourist board. Her song The Only Place aims to be the sunniest endorsement of her home state since California Girls, and it pretty much succeeds with its energetic jangle and the tempting line: “We’ve got the ocean, got the babes, got the sun, we’ve got the waves”.

A simple wish list, but effective, like most of her songs which motor along on pretty melodies and themes of love and friendship. A recent second album, also called The Only Place, polishes up her sound, though here the pleasures were more basic. With a static four-piece band and no one to add the harmonies that make such a key part of the records, a curious but not rapturous crowd saw the music stripped back to its core elements.

It worked on the ballad No One Like You, a gorgeous tune that could have been a hit for The Ronettes. A bare bones cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Storms also exposed and pushed her sweet voice a lot more than her own songs. Mostly though, this slacker rock from the sunshine state wasn’t quiet bright enough.