Coast Modern Cruise Onto Pop Radio with “The Way It Was”
Coast Modern are an emergent indie pop duo from Los Angeles, California. Relatively new to the music scene, they’ve released several individual tracks—”Hollow Life”, “Animal”, and “Guru”—but they have yet to release a full-length album. On August 19th, they released a fourth track titled “The Way It Was”.
“The Way It Was” opens with tropical and exotic percussion that you don’t hear that often in pop music. Either Luke Atlas or Coleman Trapp (this band is so new that I’m not sure which member sings here!) enters for the first verse, and instrumentally, it’s rather complex. The guitar and bass are low yet distinct—underneath the heavy club-like beats that permeate the mix, it’s somewhat difficult to hear them, but that’s not bad at all. Handclaps and a shimmery sound effect add to the mystical feel of the tune.
The chorus features catchy group vocals, trippy synthesizers, and an impressive collection of percussive sounds. You can easily tell that the percussion’s main purpose is to drive the unusual yet upbeat energy of the tune, and so far it’s done an excellent job.
The second verse is quite different from the first, which you also don’t hear that often in pop music. The solo vocalist sounds more distinct, especially as the deep and growly vocals rumble in the background. There’s a synthetic “Ooh-ooooh” interspersed here and there throughout the verse, too. If you listen closely, you can even hear a raw and intense solo guitar ramp up the momentum as the second chorus approaches.
The second chorus is slightly different from the first—a percussive beat replaces the synthesizer the first time around, and you can hear a separate singer apart from the group vocals. There’s also the addition of a “Na, na na na, na na na na na na” at the end paired with “The way it was”, a feature that adds to the singalong value of the song.
The bridge sounds very vibrant and psychedelic. It’s one of the most musically creative and distinctive bridges I’ve heard in quite some time. An acoustic guitar and some vivid synthesizers lead the transition into the first half of the bridge, which features vocals sung in a minor key and a wavy jungle beat that sounds Egyptian-like. The second half of the bridge quickens the beat to a frenzied speed, and a sprightly violin leads the explosive switch into the final chorus, stripped down to the group vocals, the tropical percussion, and a synthesizer that soars with intensity. The end of the track features a very psychedelic and synthesized solo vocalist who closes the tune with the Egyptian-like sound that we heard in the bridge, supported by flashes of electric guitar and the familiar exotic percussion that we’ve heard throughout.
“The Way It Was” represents a major win for Coast Modern, who have distinguished themselves from many other indie pop groups with their creative approach to pop music. There were a lot of things I heard in “The Way It Was” that I haven’t heard in pop music before, and it interested me a lot. I look forward to what else Coast Modern has in store for us.
Although no official video for “The Way It Was” has been uploaded yet, you can check out the official video for their most popular tune, “Hollow Life”, on YouTube below. You can find “The Way It Was” on Coast Modern’s Soundcloud or on Spotify.