Coastal – S/T


A delightfully soft album, Coastal’s self-titled debut album makes the perfect fall listening. In the soft atmosphere that this band creates with lightly brushed drums and the most wonderful vocals, you can almost hear the leaves falling and the clouds gathering. Yet it’s not a cold album, rather something that creates a slightly haunting, slightly comforting enveloping sound.
The best quality about Coastal is undoubtedly the pairing of Jason and Luisa Gough on vocals. Both have these wonderful, soft voices that mix effortlessly, with Luisa filling in the highs and Jason drifting to catch the lows. Filling out the sound are quiet guitars, soft brushed drums, and a kind of thick atmosphere created by keyboards and subtle bass lines. It verges on the slow-core style of bands like Low and Ida, but Coastal creates more atmosphere for their songs and relies less on silence, which is a wonderful approach.
“Northern” starts out with quiet drums and these echoing, almost shoe-gazing guitars, and the dual vocals here mix with this thick, soft atmospheric sounds that fill in the silent spaces so wonderfully. You’ll be lost in this music from the first notes. Guitars play a bit more importance in the slightly chilling “Cinder,” and “Paris Radio” has more emphasis on the organs, which provide a rich backdrop for this band’s beautiful vocals, here provided solely by Jason, who can carry the song easily by himself. Luisa adds some gorgeous melodies to “Ivy,” which is my favorite song here due to some gorgeous chiming guitars and this lovely Low-like melody. On “Her Reflection in Chrome,” Luisa’s echoey vocals provide backing vocals, and both singers get a bit louder, providing a greater focus for the song. “Auburn” again has a more mellow, hushed feel, with those lightly brushed drums and stark guitar lines, focusing on those dreamy vocals. And “Infrared” finishes off much in the same vein, quiet and soft, showing that the band’s only fault may be the similarity of their songs, but it doesn’t harm the flow of the album.
The band does have a history of shoegazing-style rock from previous projects, and that’s apparent on this release, but it’s not an overwhelming feature. Rather, it’s heard in the calm atmosphere that pervades these songs and in the guitar style that flits dreamlessly around the vocals. This is wonderful stuff for early morning or late evening listening, and I imagine seeing the band live is an incredible experience. Coastal recently toured with another favorite band of mine, Midsummer, and a more perfect pairing I can’t imagine.