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Coast Is Never Clear

54 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 11, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

On The Coast Is Never Clear, the difficult third-album syndrome only affected San Franciscan pop dreamers Beulah in the studio, where the band came to blows over, say, the importance of a diminished seventh on a trumpet solo. From such a roughneck recording environment, however, comes perfection on their third album, where expansive, multi-instrumental, orchestral pop is underpinned by the sweetest tunes. This album could be precious--and in lesser hands it surely would be--but at the core of Beulah's ambitious vision a pure pop heart beats. Special mention must be made of "Silver Lining," a paean to songwriter Miles Kurosky's first love, punk rock. Introduced by a fanfare of horns, the track races along propelled by a fiery guitar riff and the beaten-up joy of being scarred by punk. A bittersweet, sumptuous, and utterly compulsive collection, all told. --Ben Clancy

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Hello Resolven 1:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. A Good Man Is Easy To Kill 4:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. What Will You Do When Your Suntan Fades? 4:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Gene Autry 3:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Silver Lining 2:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Popular Mechanics For Lovers 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Gravity's Bringing Us Down 4:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Hey Brother 3:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. I'll Be Your Lampshade 4:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Cruel Minor change 2:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Burned By the Sun 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Night Is The Day Turned Inside Out 4:12$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 11, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Velocette
  • ASIN: B00005O6D4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,888 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By albert meeker on January 8, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The Coast is Never Clear is one solid piece of work. So solid that even the bad songs are good. For those of you who weren't fans before this record, you really should give the band another chance becuase it's quite obvious that they have no intention of repeating themselves. As some of you know "Handsome Western States" was lo-fi, sloppy and oddly charming in an out of tune sort of way, and "Heartstrings" of course was the sweet, bubbly, orchestrated indie breakthrough a couple years ago. This record, however, keeps those same hooks and melodies intact but overall has a darker and more mellow agenda ie. they've grown up. These days Beulah is more like Wilco than the Apples in Stereo, which is a good thing in my opinion. The lyrics are amazing as usual, except this time they're far more emotional and less Pavementy. The instrumentation is fabulous, and if you use headphones you'll find yourself hearing new things for months to come. Overall it's just a really gorgeous and rewarding album.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Of Beulah's four albums, three of them are flat out great. THE COAST IS NEVER CLEAR is the second of the three, not departing too far from the excellence of their previous gem WHEN YOUR HEARTSTRINGS BREAK. Both albums are full of luscious pop songs, driven by great hooks and frequently astonishing arrangements. Some of the sounds they employ in their songs are stunning and completely unexpected, but almost always delightful and gorgeous. For instance, in "Gene Autry," when bells are used in the bridge to the chorus and in the chorus itself. Bells? Beulah on both COAST and HEARTSTRINGS reminds me of the Beatles or perhaps Sam Phillips on her MARTINIS AND BIKINIS (produced by her husband T-Bone Burnett) in the way they manage to use a host of unexpected sounds and musical instruments to take the music to the next level. The result is a persistently surprising musical texture.

And the horns! On YOKO they would jettison the horns (though the music would be no less delightful despite that), but on this one Beulah continued to be one of the few great rock bands to successfully integrate horns into a band. A Chicago band (albeit via Austin, Texas), Poi Dog Pondering, somewhat resembled Beulah in having a very large and fluid membership (both bands at time could boast nearly twenty members) as well as a crack brass ensemble, but for my taste Poi Dog never quite matched Beulah in the quality of their songs.

The one dissonant note on the album is that the weakest number of the disc, the perplexing "Hello Resolven," starts things off. But once past that weak cut, it is one superb pop tune after another.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Drivas on August 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Beulah does not, has not, and will probably never sound like the Beach Boys. In fact, any comparsion to the Beach Boys is unfair and misguided, not only to the Beach Boys, but also to Beulah. With that said, if you're looking for a retro inspired Pet Sounds wannabe pop album, look elsewhere. While Beulah is definitely influenced by the Beach Boys, they do not live in the sixties and are definitely linked more to the early 90's indie sounds of Pavement, GBV, Superchunk, Treepeople, and Archers of Loaf. What makes them unique then, is their ability to keep indie rock alive by infusing new elements such as horns, strings, keyboards, asian instrumentation, touches of jazz, bossanova, country etc. to a genre that had only known fuzzy guitars and odd tunings. This is what makes Beulah remarkable. They are in essence a garage band playing orchestrated indie rock.
The songs on "Coast" are first rate, but if I had to highlight one thing on this record it would be the production. Put on your headphones and listen. For each song every verse, chorus, and bridge is like a mini song all by itself. Instruments cut in and out throughout the record seemlessly. At first it seems so organic and natural that you don't realize how much care and effort went into each part. This band did not just go into a studio and start jamming. So much is going on in every song it's hard to believe they were able to pull it off. Most bands have trouble making sure the drums don't overpower the bass and the vocals don't kill the guitar melodies. With Beulah, strings run into horns, harmonies glide over pianos, vibes race past pedal steel guitars and sitars, and it all sounds like it was meant to go together. To oversimplify, they sound like a band.
To repeat, ignore the Beach Boys comparisons, forget the sixties, and just listen. The future is now.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chris Green on December 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I was a little disappointed by this record at first, but I confess that it really grew on me. I'm a big fan of "Heartstrings," and while the highs on this album don't reach the heights of that one, this is a fun, smooth ride.
The sound here is a little more familiar, and I confess that part of my disappointment stems from the absence of Robert Schneider's flair for creating pop chamber pieces that made "Heartstrings" sound so different and novel. But this is a warmer album, no doubt, which goes down easier. It doesn't find that perfect groove until the awesome (and too-short) boogie-woogie trumpet break on "Night is the Day Turned Inside Out," but there's lots of fun stuff along the way. "Gene Autry" has a galloping infectiousness that makes it hard not to sing along. "What Will You Do When Your Suntan Fades?" has lovely, bittersweet lilt to it, and the soaring guitar arcs of "Gravity's Bringing Us Down" have an unlikely (for this band) arena-rock heft to them. (...) Miles Kurosky's lyrics are clearer than ever before, which is basically a good thing. 75% of them are very clever, and the other 25% are too clever by half. But the good ones are wonderful. "I don't love you to death, but I'd die if you left," he sings on "Night is the Day..." and every time I hear it, I think, damn... wish I'd written it.
The sound is sweet, the sentiments bittersweet. Come late August, I'll be sitting on my deck, watching the sun set through the haze of my third gin & tonic, and this'll be the album I'll have on the stereo.
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