Beach Slang - The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Beach Slang

The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City (2020)

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Beach Slang are one of the most polarising bands I've ever seen here. Fans loved them when James Alex and Co. brought the Replacements/Goo Goo Dolls sound back but since then a lot of them have turned on the act. I wasn't one who found their sound that great, it was good, don't get me wrong -- but since their debut, they've flogged the sound to death on subsequent EPs and LPs. I know there's talent there but I can't take a band that serious who doesn't wear its own skin, have its own sound or seem like there's an identity of its own there to begin with. The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City, while not that musically genius, does go some way to proving me wrong, offering hope something lies beneath the Austin Powers-clothes James often wears and the numerous teenage drinking/sex songs a man really should let go of past 30.

Now, let me preface my assessment by saying, see them live -- they're energetic as fuck, and heck, Tommy from the Replacements is now officially with them so you can't go wrong there. But if it's songs off the last couple records, well, you might as well listen to Johnny Rzeznik and Goo Goo Dolls from the '90s because to me, there is such a thing as getting homage wrong. Here, though, apart from "Kicking Over Bottles" there's not that much of the last couple BS albums to soak in. It's most welcomed because you can finally get an idea of where they lie once not aping someone.

The opening track shouldn't have been an instrumental because at this point, I honestly thought it was a Queens of the Stone Age-style record. "All The Kids in LA" ramps up, then fizzles, sadly into hard-edged, non-catchy and monotonous songs like "Let It Ride" and "Bam Rang Rang". Again, kudos for a different direction but there has to be some hook or melody here, as opposed to songs that feel very rough and uncut. Now, I don't mind the Def Leppard or Starship style or whatever the band's going for with the big-stadium "Tommy In The '80s" -- that feels like old BS and the new direction mixed together, which is a bop I can get down to, but it's the ensuing boring parts of the record which tip me from being on the fence to "meh!"

Quiet Slang was the stripped-down version of the band so we don't need acoustics like "Nobody Say Nothing" or "Nowhere Bus" or the piano-driven closer "Bar No One". They're catchy, sure, but I mean, they're songs we've heard over and over so if it ain't new, at this point, please fix it. I do commend the band for attempting to cut a new road with songs like "Stiff" but again, it's all about sex appeal here and I just can't connect with a band and a vocalist that comes off like a 17 year-old who is now trying too hard. Maybe the entire record should have been made with this particular approach in mind but for this to work, all the old Slang had to be scrubbed. You just can't mix and dilute these sounds as you'll end up conflicting people like me who are REALLY giving the band a chance to show us their true hand.

Nonetheless, I'll still listen to the band's next record because I know there's a diamond there that needs refining. As it is, it's a work in progress, and hopefully James evolves as a writer more. I'm seeing bits and pieces here and I think BS can become a rock and roll band that'll pleasantly surprise rather than bore us. Still, no matter what, depends on when the mood strikes, they'll be a guilty pleasure, although that novelty has admittedly worn off as the years roll by and I'm getting older and grumpier with less fucks to give about the fire of youth and nostalgic high-school/university romance.