“These days I feel like I’m responsible for things bigger than myself. And I want to do right by them” says Beach Slang’s James Alex, reflecting on a newfound duty. The duty he speaks of is making sure that the kids he is singing about and the ones that soak up every last Beach Slang lyric as if they were life mantras, are being given the right things from him as a role model, to make their own ‘here and now’s as memorable as possible through their ‘Teenage Feelings’.
The band’s sophomore effort starts honestly, with opening line “Play it loud, play it fast, play me something that will always last”. Whether singer James is speaking autobiographically or giving instruction to a new generation of basement punks is in question but what isn’t is that Future Mixtape for Arts Kids is an opener to die for as James’ fuzzed-up vocals command centre stage. Atom Bomb rips by next, and at just over two minutes its garage rock fury proves to be one of the more intense in the band’s canon. It is apparent from these two brilliant openers, especially the former, that the band believe having faith in rock ‘n’ roll can do so much for anyone taking part.
What comes next displays not only what Beach Slang do best, but where they came from too. Spin The Dial takes a riff reminiscent of The Replacements and places it alongside a hooky chorus that screams summer drives. First single Punks in a Disco Bar arrives on jagged power chords before diving headfirst into a driving verse, while Young Hearts simple guitar hook recalls Springsteen battling it out with a fuzzed up amp. It is clear that James and co have come so far in the songwriting department, with tracks like the anthemic shoegaze-punk of Art Damage sticking in your head like chewing gum in hair. Snappy production here allows distorted vocals, rumbling bass and punchy drums to mesh together perfectly without taking away from the rawness of the bands live sound.
As with last year’s The Thing We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us, this is a brilliantly simple album. Its roots are set firmly in a time where bands like The Replacements, Husker Du and college radio reigned supreme and while this may sound unfamiliar to a younger generation of fans, Beach Slang wear these influences clearly. These are ten messy, loud, gloriously rebellious balls of energy that show a band on peak form. On final track Warpaint the band offer the short sermon “Don’t be afraid to want to be alive”. Listening to A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings, the message is loud and clear.
A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings is out on September 23rd on Big Scary Monsters.