Perhaps it’s growing up mere miles away with the same nascent mood altering seasons amongst the same years, worshipping at the altars of Big Star and the ‘Mats, an outsiders view yet being a part of the inner core too. Maybe being in the same plane of adulthood adds to the mystique, young toddlers and wife at home yet a hopeless need for rock-n-roll. Whatever it is, it’s here and I’m bitten. James Alex carries the weight of the voiceless and frustrated thirty and forty somethings, still drunk on gutter punk and guitar rock searching the record bins of shit for a hair of the dog that bit.
There are more people swept up in the undertow of Beach Slang by the day, and deservedly so. Hailing from Philadelphia, a mere 62 miles from where I sit, James Alex, Ruben Gallego, Ed McNulty, and former drummer JP Flexner set out to unabashedly add to the onslaught on the heels of their debut long player, The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us. A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings, guitars, drums, bass, copious amounts of hard time tapestries and loner lingo in the form of hopelessly unforgettable pop punk. Not ‘90s alternative radio junk but pressure cooked love songs, reflective poetry, and theme songs for the hapless come hopeful -- all systematically delivered with one common thread, keeping the art simple yet bedazzled in a spectacle of luscious rock-n-roll and emotional fortitude, or a lack thereof.
The voluminous gushings of Alex and company are heavily addictive. Transient of age, race, or usual musical threshold, Beach Slang records have a way of catching toddlers and jaded rock critics. If there were a way to bottle a 2 year old’s taste in music it would make for the world’s greatest rock critic. They’re simply not caught up in anything but rhythms and melodies, and of course decibels, glorious decibels. That said the Slang delivers on all fronts and I've a two and four year old to back me up.
Obviously drenched in Westerberg’s style but there’s a great deal more to the band than a nod to the Replacements. How rare is it to see a band skyrocket with the pure rashness of two, realistically 3 EPs and a single full length? Take a listen and it’s quickly figured out. Twenty perfect songs spread out over two records and another eight floating around on two stellar EPs, and another handful of covers and rarities released as a mix tape. Whatever it is, it’s great, and I’m thankful.
The release finds the band drummer-less with friends and cohorts filling in for live shows before the spot is filled permanently, I’m sure no shortage of names pleading to be tossed in the proverbial hat. Seemingly a positive move for the band with an, at least, publically amicable separation following a near on stage break-up that lasted literally hours before being quelled thankfully. Beach Slang could have easily ended up another hard luck band that simply couldn’t get their shit together. On Loud Bash the poop is grouped and molded into a perfect ten song offering of glorious stripped down punk fury, with a quasi-shy smirk from the background in a Big Star hoodie or a tuxedo shirt with a littered one inch button collection to rival your favorite TGIF waitresses’ upon the lapel of some thrift store gold.
Guitar, bass, and drums played loudly is becoming more of a commodity then the norm, rest assured that wax ammunition will flourish as long as the Beach Slang boys are banging on instruments, brain waves, and microphones. One of the best records of 2016, gavel down and broken – A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings out now onPolyvinyl. We’re still here and we’re getting pissed.
(No Depression 9/30/16)