Beach Slang - A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Beach Slang

A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings (2016)

Polyvinyl


Beach Slang’s debut album could have easily been titled A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings. It had plenty of references to staying young and being alive. While those are not gone on the band's excellent sophomore full length, a little more growing up bleeds through. Teenage Feelings grounds itself in adolescence but adulthood lingers more than ever before.

A spiritual elder to The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us, the album never strays far from their glorified style. But it is clear in the first seconds of opener “Future Mixtape for the Art Kids” that overall mindset has shifted. For the most part, everything here is heavier and more solemn than its predecessor. “Atom Bomb” gets right in your face. “Spin the Dial” is a Replacements song by Beach Slang. The whole experience has a noticeably darker coat. 

The Things We Do was released on the heels of two EPs representing the biggest successes of James Alex’s multiple decade career. It was positive, fun, and connected with fans old and young. Now he’s a family man with a career in music: his hopes and dreams are a reality. But that also means his successes and/or failures have consequences. He has something to lose. The word “alive” was embedded into their early releases, but now variations of "death" are slipped in as well. “Wasted Daze of Youth" may be the most telling song on the album. Alex sings, “Please don’t die before I do,” which portrays a man on the other side of childhood no matter how hard he's fighting it. Teenage Feelings is a transitional record in the sense that the band is growing up but refusing to lose its youthful edge. And, in that dichotomy, it succeeds.


What Beach Slang has managed to pull off is incredible. They've created a safe space for art school weirdoes to ditch the irony and enjoy something. They appeal to young kids in basements and aging hipsters in Brooklyn. Hell, Alex even gets away with wearing a uniform without mockery. Fans eat up the band's emotions and regurgitate them right back. The ideas, the chords, the lyrics: they’re all timeless. “Play me something that will always last!” Alex sings. A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings, like all Beach Slang releases, is made for the purpose of inclusivity. James Alex may be forty-two but Beach Slang, in sound and energy, remains ageless.