Coasts, Bristol Marble Factory, gig review: Slick band give polished performance in need of an edge

Hometown show well-received by crowd but is polite and inoffensive

Oliver Hurley
Sunday 01 November 2015 18:32
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Never let it be said that Bristol band Coasts aren't in tune with their audience. For this Halloween night, hometown show, a good chunk of the crowd have arrived in zombie get-up – a look replicated by the band themselves. It's reassuring to see the five-piece adopt – for one night only, at least – the reanimated corpse aesthetic: it's a sign that they do indeed have a sense of humour, not something you would otherwise pick up on from their set.

Coasts describe their sound as 'tropical pop'. And while their best moments – notably the anthemic, Chvrches-esque 'Wolves' and set-closer 'Oceans' – do have a catchy, west-coast sound, too many of their songs are more sheen than substance. They are incredibly polished and well-rehearsed, and charismatic singer Chris Caines is a natural frontman, but their live show leaves you desperate for an edge that just isn't there.

At heart, they're a slick pop group masquerading as a rock band: much of the time, they sound polite and inoffensive. But when they drop the guitar-band posturing and embrace their love of the massive pop tune, Coasts' music has the ability to send a shiver down your spine – and not just because they look like members of the undead.

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