The debut of Boston-based trio Honey Cutt, Coasting is technically the second full-length from the group, who were calling themselves Baby! in 2017 when they delivered Sunny, F.L. Both albums showcase the sunny, surf-inflected indie pop of bandleader Kaley Honeycutt, who tints her warm, buoyant melodies with vulnerable, musing lyrics. An improvement in recording quality and songwriting consistency over its predecessor, Coasting (their Kanine Records debut) puts their best foot forward yet from a discography that also includes a prior EP. The infectious "Vacation" kicks things off with guitar work by Honeycutt that recalls the bouncy Johnny Marr jangle of uptempo Smiths on its way to a catchy, lilting chorus that rivals the Go-Go's track of the same name. Honeycutt's vocals are more pensive and sepia-toned than Carlisle's as they convey the also-isolationist sentiment "I'm on a vacation/From all the 'nice guys'/And I'm turning off my phone/And I'm throwing it in the water." She explores a manicured form of expectation in the '60s-styled "Suburban Dream" and something similarly superficial in the dream poppy "Fashion School" before the shimmery, tempo-shifting title track remembers her having to stay strong for her mother when times were tough during childhood. Languid and nostalgic, "All I Have" ("You meant something to me") slows things down for the more-wistful final third of the album, which also includes the reverb-washed "Gentleness" and its distorted shades of doo wop. Coasting closes with ill-fated love on "Love Me, Still," a song with guitar that alternates between churning chords and efficient countermelody. Those guitar lines, along with memorable main melodies, are what make Honey Cutt stand out from the crowd and Coasting a must for fans of beachy indie pop.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson