steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Halfway To You" CD

Words on Music

Genres: slowcore, shoegazer, dream pop

Words on Music
715 University Avenue SE #201
Minneapolis MN

Nov 29 - Dec 5 2004

Coastal is not the most spectacular band I've listened to, but slowcore doesn't really lend itself to excitement.  Instead, these nine songs serve to sooth and relax the spirits, working in a vein similar to Low (but less funereal), L'altra (but less poppy), and Mojave 3 (but less florid).  All of these songs' melodies are given time to float around and soak in, and every song seems completely content to take its time and run its due course.

Of course, Halfway To You's drawn-out tone means it takes getting used to - even multiple listens aren't likely to win over impatient audiences - but to slowcore and shoegaze fans, it will be an absolute delight.  Contained on this disc are a number of truly great songs; the Low vs. L'altra vibes of "Eternal" and "Halfway To You" are among the best.  A few of the tracks seem a bit expendable ("Leaves," "Night Sky"), but their consistent pleasantness prevents them from threatening the album's wonderful flow.

The only qualm I have with Coastal is that their music is easy to tire of - since climaxes and pop hooks aren't exactly in abundance, some of the less infectious songs - like "Leaves," for example - rely too much on the atmospheres they convey.  This isn't a problem at first, but after you've heard Halfway To You a few times, "Leaves" becomes a bit of a patience tester.  Still, there are more than enough strong songs here to suffice; perfectionists should be warned, however.

Halfway To You is a wonderfully gradual collection of songs.  I challenge you to find a better soundtrack to a relaxing winter evening.


Fun Fact: Halfway To You was allegedly recorded at Makeout City Studios.  The site describes the studio as "a production company specializing in stop-motion animation."  What's the deal?

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 9 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2004]