Beach Slang - The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Beach Slang

The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us (2015)

Polyvinyl


This review is a little tardy after an October 30th release date, but I feel like that’s the way anything to do with Beach Slang should be: stumbling in late, drunk, heart full of love. Like the rest of the world, I fell completely for James Alex and company with their first two EPs and spent the last year spreading their gospel, despite a mere eight-track discography. The Cheap Thrills and Broken EPs were instant classics and felt so much bigger than they really were, but I was nervous their strength hinged on brevity. Each release was so short and effective that a jump to ten tracks risked diminishing returns. Would Beach Slang be able to capitalize on all the building momentum and create the huge record everyone was hoping for?

Hell yes. Without breaking the mold too much, Beach Slang has produced a debut album entirely worth the hype the punk community has thrown at them. The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us is a continuation of the EPs, building on the original successful template for a big, rocking, lovable record. The message remains the same: more nostalgic romanticism and youthful recklessness than anything Brian Fallon's ever sung. There’s the drunken youthful rebelliousness and the power of music. The kids in the songs are still fucked up on drugs, but the drugs are never named and are never cause for too much concern. Alex will still use a turn of phrase that anywhere else would sound cliché, but here, remains entirely endearing.  Only Beach Slang could get a crowd of punks to sing "good love is not safe!"

The sound is still the same, with massive power chords, relentless (albeit, repetitive) drumming creating a foundation for James Alex’s distorted, emotive vocals. I could throw out a million references to The Replacements or Jawbreaker, but neither ever quite went for the same uplifting power in their songs. Many tracks sound like utter rehashings of earlier ones (listen to “I Break Guitars,” then listen to Broken’s “Filthy Luck” for prime example), but it never really weighs on the record. The band even explores more sonically dark territory on “Ride the Wild Haze” and “Young and Alive,” and they stand out as some of the album’s most engaging tracks. The acoustic ballad, “Too Late to Die Young”, has accompanying strings and feels much more complete than their previous acoustic outing, “We Are Nothing”. “Bad Art and Weirdo Ideas," “Noisy Heaven” and “Hard Luck Kid” stick pretty close to the script, but are powerful and effective. Beach Slang stay consistent on theme and sound for most of the record, but like the EPs, The Things We Do always feels over too soon.

I’m always worried the cynical part of my brain will kick in some day and I’ll start to feel disdain for the way James Alex writes everything so unashamedly romantic and boyishly energetic. But it’s never happened, and I don’t think it ever will. He’s just so good at capturing the spirit of what got all of us into this music in the first place. The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us proves that Beach Slang are not a flash in the pan. They’re a genuine part of the heart of punk rock, pumping blood and keeping its spirit alive.