Sky meets sea in a foreign land as Canada’s The Coast deliver their impressive, atmospheric full-length debut, Expatriate. After releasing a self-titled EP earlier this year (QRO review), this Toronto four-piece now follows that up with an even grander LP. While drawing from the north-of-the-border fuzzy, expansive sound, The Coast don’t stick to that shore as they explore other tributaries on Expatriate.
Opening with the single is an old trick, especially for new bands, as they try to snag the listener (and reviewer…) from the get-go. “Tightrope” does that and more, marrying Canadian expanse to a catchy upbeat, with a winning “Hey, hey, you!” chorus. Things get sadder on the pressing “Nueva York”, but no less fine, as the piece is grand, like the city, but also has touch – also like the city. After that ‘jump over the border’ (but which border?…), The Coast return to a more ‘traditional’ Canadian fuzzy atmosphere with “The Moon Is Dead”, before going to an alt-country (if more Albertan prairie than Texan plains) with “No Secret Why”, providing a nice change on the record.
After such a strong start, Expatriate couldn’t help but slip, if only a bit. “Song For Gypsy Rose Lee” is restrained and pretty, but twee isn’t what you’re looking for from this band. “Floodlights” brings back the higher wash, yet with a catchy upswing crash, but “We’re the Ones” returns to the quiet with a strum. The record ends with two more restrained pieces, the ultra-touch, alt-folk “Play Me the Apostle”, and the almost summer-surf finisher, “All the Boys”. Expatriate might have been better served, had these tracks been spread out across the record, rather than bunched at the end.
But between “The Ones” and “The Apostle” falls the standout among standouts, “Killing Off Our Friends”. “Killing” perfectly combines the restraint of the latter half of Expatriate with the grand press of the first, and, along with the crashing attack of the following “Ceremony Guns”, holds up the b-side of Expatriate to as high a standard as it’s a-. Building on what came before them, but never sinking into a retread, The Coast sail clear skies in any country.