Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Beach Slang accepts aging but still preaches to the punk kids

Beach Slang (Photo: Ian Laidlaw)
Beach Slang (Photo: Ian Laidlaw)
Advertisement

Beach Slang’s acclaimed debut The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us was a catalog of the trials and tribulations of youth. Eleven months later, frontman James Alex, a father in his 40s, seems to have acknowledged that he’s grown up some. True to its title, sophomore record A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings maintains heavy reverence for those emotionally jumbled salad days, but approaches the subject from a perspective of nostalgia and observation rather than contemporaneous experience.

The themes that drove confused and rebellious kids to Beach Slang haven’t gone anywhere; inspired by his past and stories of fans Alex talked to on tour, the album is part reminiscence, part empathy, part advice. He retains a sincere and lasting understanding of the frustrations of the young outcast, and works that angst into tracks such as “Punks In A Disco Bar,” a brash, vigorous banger that surges on a saturating pop-punk riff and assures his audience that they’re not alone. Meanwhile, in stormy cut “Atom Bomb,” those who are “tick, tick, ticking” with a pent-up blend of rage, unease, hopelessness, and desire get a turbulent, visceral release.

Advertisement

Beach Slang maximizes the cathartic effect of these mini-anthems (everything’s wrapped up in a brisk half-hour) by making them more loud, raw, and forceful than ever before. The gritty Psychedelic Furs-meets-screamo vocals are a heavily distorted, growling mess; a thick blanket of fuzz smothers the frayed guitar riffs; the tracks swiftly smash into each other in a sonic demolition derby. Though there isn’t much time to catch a breath, slickly catchy pop songs such as “Spin The Dial”—“I’ve got a halo on my heart” is its earnest refrain—transition to vibrant moments of reflection. A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings carries a message to Generation Z: Persevere while holding onto those chaotic passions, with the band’s members themselves as the example that it can be done.

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our newsletter