The stuff that’s always worked for me is the confessional, heart-on-your-sleeve, big guitars and shouty choruses kind of rock. Beach Slang makes those kind of records.
The band’s pair of EP’s in 2014 and last year’s insta-classic debut The Things We Do To Find People Like Us were thrilling documents of Replacements-style slop and romance with a Jawbreaker glaze. It’s kind of hard to hate.
Less than a year later, they are back with their second full length album, A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings, a record that takes what works and refines the focus and gets in and gets out before the sun sets.
It strikes me as more of a continuation of what makes Beach Slang great – driving rockers like “Atom Bomb” with the irresistible lyric “I was born with trouble in me” and “Spin The Dial,” which is probably the sweetest song on a list of songs with harder edges. While their debut set the scene, this album is comfortable being the second chapter in the larger story. The Jawbreaker influence is a little stronger here: James Alex’s vocals are a little more obscured by fuzz, and his and Ruben Gallego’s guitars cut like sharpened knives. The effect is twofold – If you’re a fan, you’ll notice the nuance, and if you’re just coming to them for the first time, it’s a complete introduction.
There’s a great lyric that comes at the end of the record on “The Perfect High” – “Let’s get caught in this weird thing”. I think that sums up Beach Slang sort of perfectly. They’re a band that seemingly came out of nowhere to captivate anyone that will listen. Their music sounds shambolic and sweet, full of positive energy and tales of raging against the dying of the light. It feels instant and pure and A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings captures that energy again. What will be really weird, though, is to see where they take that momentum next, because with what you hear on this record, you can’t help but think a twist is coming in the next chapter.
“A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings” is out on Polyvinyl on September 23.