The second full-length from Pastel Coast gives off a warm and fuzzy feeling. Aptly titled Sun, this record evokes a fun energy inspired by warm summer days spent by the coastline of their native Boulogne-sur-Mer. Pastel Coast started out as the solo project of songwriter Quentin Isidore, who developed it further to form a five-piece with Benjamin Fiorini (drums), Renaud Tetaux (bass), Ingrid Letourneau (keys) and Marion Plouviez (guitar, vocals). Their sound hovers over the lines of dream pop and dance pop, with hints of melancholy and a strong nostalgic-inducing character. Influences to fellow local acts such as Phoenix and Air can be heard in some of their songs but the overall warmth and joy their music exudes is distinctly their own.
Although this record has an overall positive vibe, the first song “Distance” belies the band’s struggle to work on the record remotely. Having been affected by the pandemic and forced to separate, Isidore recorded and mixed Sun by himself. The fact that this challenge hardly shows itself in their lush production and exuberant melodies proves how well they’ve stuck to their vision.
Second track “Sunrise” has a wonderful groove to it, filled with glimmering keys and a dancing rhythmic glow. “Helios” is the color tangerine in musical form, a hazy and nostalgic song with the surreal neon sounds of synthpop.
Despite their heavily pop-oriented palette, the band does have some experimental flourishes that are quite fresh and in my opinion, quite brilliant. “Retour” is rich with swelling synths and hazy vocals, structured more like a cinematic piece than a pop song. “Funeral” is a heartfelt and wistful tune that expresses both longing and appreciation for a friend long gone. “Aller” is an instrumental full of ambient sounds and fluttering keys that transports you to a fairy tale land full of wonder and optimism.
The album closes with very solid tracks. “Sunset” provides an inverse to the earlier song, feeling more urgent and conflicted for the day to end. Yet it still maintains its breezy atmosphere. Closer “Radiant” is more calming with its somber arpeggios, a mesmerizing tune to end this album on a satisfying note.
Allow Pastel Coast to immerse you with their bright disposition in Sun. Who knows, it just might make your day feel better. I know it certainly did for me.