Coastgaard Devil On The Balcony on LP
There is something timeless about the music of Coastgaard that, while playing to a listener's sense of nostalgia, still feels innovative. On their sophomore release, Devil On The Balcony, the band has meticulously arranged dynamic chord progressions over immediately engaging rhythmic motifs, reminiscent of 50's and 60's rock and roll, to form the foundation of what will undoubtedly be a breakthrough record.
Coastgaard consists of Matt Miller (guitar, lead vocals), Sean Glassman (guitar, vocals, keys), Paolo Codega (bass, vocals) and Brian D'Alessandro (drums, vocals, keys). While Miller and Glassman share a common background editing film and video, both members of Coastgaard's rhythm section come from careers in scientific fields. The dichotomy of the two contrasting career paths from which the members of Coastgaard came is evident in the attention to balance in their music. Whether it be the blending of vintage and modern or the seamless integration of order and chaos, Coastgaard has found a special musical niche in their ability to merge what does not immediately seem compatible into something beautiful and inherently unique.
Coastgaard's music, both lyrically and in the overall soundscape, takes on a very cinematic quality. Each song on Devil On The Balcony takes the listener through a distinct scene, or moment in the overall story of the record. The influence of surf rock luminaries like The Beach Boys and The Ventures (as well as that of the more recent surf rock revival) is apparent in the beachy vibes scattered throughout the record. "Genevieve" has the feel of a carnivalesque waltz, while the driving synths and sprawling guitar leads of the album's first single "Black White Fuzz" live largely on the other end of the musical spectrum. The staccato guitars and organs ride a walking bassline into a huge hook on "Well Adjusted Man" and the verses in "Fur" are an homage to both the reggae and R&B of the 70's.
Perhaps, the clearest example of the band's dedication to exploring new sounds and textures can be found on the dark 70's psychedelia of "Old Casino," which would be perfectly at home in the world of David Bowie. Still, with all of the sonic exploration that takes place on Devil On The Balcony, the band doubles down on their commitment to capitalizing on the endearing nature and organic qualities of live instrumentation. According to D'Alessandro, there is a "certain level of flexibility that cannot be duplicated using electronic elements in music." Its this flexibility that allows the band to explore different emotional ranges and sonic directions that really solidifies a lot of the more defining characteristics of Coastgaard's sound.
As was the case on the Coastgaard album, the theme of escapism is central to this record. Still, as the band has matured musically so have they lyrically. Devil On The Balcony doesn't so much come from the narrative of vacationing on a white sandy beach, as it lives in the moments of imprisonment that occur when you can't find time to have the escape you're in desperate need of. As Miller puts it, this record is "rooted in a cold and high energy place," and therein lies one of the major differences between Devil On The Balcony and it's predecessor.