ALBUM REVIEW: Beach Slang – A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings
You only need to look at the success of Netflix’s Stranger Things and the sudden obsession with corduroy miniskirts to see that there’s been a rise in 80s nostalgia culture.
It’s no wonder, then, that Philadelphia quartet Beach Slang have captured the hearts of punk rockers young and old. In Spin The Dial_128, we’re transported back to a pre-internet age where “the radio is loud and wild” and singer James Alex Snyder is “too drunk to spin the dial.” It’s evident that Beach Slang’s latest release A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings is riding high on their new found popularity. Sweet, simplistic and very much in the same vein as what the band have done in the past.
As an opener, Future Mixtape For The Art Kids (which, by the way, is the most beach slang Beach Slang song title we’ve ever heard) establishes, with breathless and biting vocals, that this album will be the same rock ‘n’ roll blend of earnestness that their 2015 debut proudly toted. Interestingly, Snyder discusses feeling “a sense of responsibility to the kids who told me they were finding something in our music…I don’t want to let those people down,” and this idea of leaving a legacy behind could very well explain the rather indulgent song title. Atom Bomb is more fast paced and exciting. We like the extremely catchy chorus: “I’m an atom bomb, tick tick ticking.” This song must be a nod to the simplistic, 4 chord punk of The Ramones.
If you’re wondering when the token sappy love song will make its expected appearance, look no further than Hot Tramps. Instead of being overly-nostalgic and cringe-inducing, Hot Tramps does a great job of summing up that starry eyed feeling of teenage love – hence the album title mention. If there’s any song on this album that is true to Beach Slang’s ethos, then it’s this one. Most of the verses are composed of clumsy metaphors that would put any high school love poem to shame – our personal favourite being “your arms are a car crash I want to die in.”
Next up is that summery single we’ve all been dancing to, Punks In A Disco Bar. The hooky riff that’s present throughout the track and infectious chorus are reason enough to live this song. Young Hearts has the feel of a picture perfect homecoming dance. Plus, we like the reference to Bad Art And Weirdo Ideas (“the gutter’s too tough, the stars are too safe”) in the repeated refrain “the gutter’s alive/with young hearts tonight.” This is another example of a clever guitar riff that flutters over Snyder’s vocals almost throughout the song, and we also get to hear some nice, thick bass in the bridge.
While providing some great sing-along moments and interesting guitar work to unpack, this entire album has the slightly disconcerting feel of the band’s last record – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us – in a parallel universe; long song titles and all, with such heartfelt pop songs, Beach Slang’s acclaim is understandable and deserved, but they’ve become just a little bit too predictable for us. From the screech of feedback that introduces nearly every song to the retro fade out in The Perfect High, we knew exactly what this album would be like before we even pressed “play” on the first song.
Standout Track: Hot Tramps
For Fans Of: The Replacements, Green Day, Diarrhoea Planet
Written by: Kathryn Woods