The Dark Shed
Photo: Courtesy of the atist

“Coast” Is the Dark Shed’s Hip-Swaying Art-Pop Summer Jam (premiere)

The latest collaboration between Winston Cook-Wilson and Ryan Weiner, “Coast” mixes pandemic-era dread with funky, irresistible beats.

In a perfect world, “Coast” would be this summer’s unstoppable single, something you hear blasting out of Bluetooth speakers on a sun-kissed beach towel or cranking out of a car stereo while the car’s occupants sway helplessly to the beat. Coming from the musical minds of Winston Cook-Wilson and Ryan Weiner, recording as the Dark Shed, the song — premiering today on PopMatters – accomplishes that distinctive feel, with helpings of sophisticated art-pop and a multilayered arrangement. 

Cook-Wilson, known for his solo work (under the moniker Winston C.W.) as well as his quartet Office Culture, teamed up with deft multi-instrumentalist Ryan Weiner (Not Person, Tiny Hazard) for the first Dark Shed single, “No Need”, released last September. The hazy dream-pop of that single balances nicely with the brand new, more upbeat yet subtle “Coast”, which bops along with stuttering percussion – undoubtedly influenced by Cook-Wilson’s COVID-era obsession with contemporary Afrobeat artists – as well as lush layers of keyboards, thick slabs of bass, and beautifully understated guitar work. 

It may have the sound of the summer. Still, a unique aspect of “Coast” is Cook-Wilson’s low-key vocal delivery. It’s a soulful evocation from the age of COVID and what he describes in the press release as “the feeling of coming to a constructive conclusion about yourself and maintaining empathy for the people in the midst of a thick fog of contradictory emotions”. Heavy stuff, but those falsetto “shoooo” moments help break whatever tension the lyrics may bring.

And when the chorus crashes down with irresistible chord changes, it creates a unique, timeless buzz. “No holes left in the plan,” Cook-Wilson croons. “No hourglass to hold my hand / Someday it might stay like we fixed it / If we coast for a little bit.” It’s 2021, and the world is starting to get back to normal slowly. There is nothing wrong with coasting for a little bit, especially with tunes like these. Roll down the windows and turn up the volume. 

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