The Desolate Coast entered the surf scene as a new project of Eric Cranfield of Seattle's The 'Verb, and that legacy echoed into the new band. Though Desolate Coast were certainly different, there were similarities in their guitar sound, their grasp of mood, and appreciation of misty pacific northwestern landscapes and grayscale-plus-pink displayed on album covers.
It's hard to say exactly what's changed on Without a Planet, but at this point I think The Desolate Coast have emerged with a much more distinct identity all to themselves -- not just from The 'Verb but from just about anybody. There's something about this sound that stands out. Maybe it's simply studio engineering, maybe it's chord choices I lack the music brain to analyze and articulate, but I find myself thinking about The Cure a lot despite it still sounding very surf. I mean, it doesn't really drip, no beach party stuff, very rarely (but not never) outright aggressive -- but it's still recognizably surf. You have three guitars and bass that generally seem to play rhythmically very close but far apart from each other on the scale, and the effect this has can be enchanting at times. And this album wants to enchant, to poke you right in your feelings. Not just on slower, overtly moody songs, but to hit you on a deeper level on the more powerful tracks as well.
It's a hefty one, with seventeen tracks and clocking in at over forty minutes. And I would say that while every track has a soundbite in there, a little moment of "ooh that sounds nice", not every once gels into a song that's memorable throughout. However, I wish that every album I listened to could deliver at least seventeen nice moments, and I also leave myself open to the possibility that some of these will grow on me.
I think The Desolate Coast are doing something special here, and while I wouldn't expect it to resonate with everybody, I expect for some it will resonate roaringly. For fans of The Mystery Men?'s Firewalkers in particular, I think you'll find a lot to like here.
It's digital and CD from bandcamp or Double Crown.