The only downside with the title of Beach Slang’s newest effort, A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings, is that it is so on point to the group’s sound that it should be saved for an eventual greatest hits collection from the band. Then again, James Alex will probably come up with another fresh, direct way of saying what has been said over and over again in rock and roll; live in and for the moment.
The band has been incredibly productive, releasing their first full length last year as well as a host of critically acclaimed EP’s before that. This could stem from Alex’s relatively older age in this young man’s game as the frontman is constantly pushing ahead and living in that proverbial now, wearing his heart on his sleeve through the direct lyrics and upbeat pop punk tracks.
This relatively short album (the full length clocks in at a half hour) nails all the high points starting with opener “Future Mixtape To The Art Kids” via lines like “Play it loud, play it fast/Play me something that will always last”. The Philly band immediately state their intentions and never look back.
The catchy riffs and hit songs come fast and furious; both “Perfect High” and “Wasted Daze Of Youth” pull out the romanticism and lather it in warm comforting feedback. “Punks In a Disco Bar” injects some hip shaking groove while “Hot Tramps” shows off a huge instrumental ending that feels epic but still stays under the four minute mark, a neat trick.
Two of the best tracks are “Atom Bomb” and “Spin That Dial”. Both have familiar overtones and touch points (Ramones for the former and perhaps a bit too closely, The Replacements’ “Alex Chilton” for the latter) but still resonant for a new generation of listeners around their shout along choruses and urgent need to break through.
If there is a downside to A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings, it could stem in the production and singing of frontman James Alex. Rather than soaring out to the heavens like their kinfolk Japandroids, James stays muffled and restrained from a production standpoint, fuzzing up his “aim is true” lyrics/vocals with a layer of fuzz that can rub against all the positive sounds. That grounding effect can work as a counterbalance as well, and the band stays realistic in their hopeful connections.
That need for physical and emotional connection is everywhere and the urgency to reach out and touch someone is the basis for Beach Slang’s whole catalog. But A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings is the best yet from the players. The group stays electric, positive, realistic and, most importantly, honest. This is a band constantly searching for those fleeting moments of realness that exist in rock and roll.