This Beach Slang article was written by Nick Holden a Gigsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson. Photo by Jacki Nicole
“I’m always that kid out of place/I try to get found/but I’ve never known how.” Philadelphia natives Beach Slang follow through with their pre-established themes of loneliness and youthful drunkenness in their new debut album ‘The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us’. Over the last few years, since their twin LP’s ‘Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street’ and ‘Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken’, Beach Slang have, since their relatively recent beginnings, established a cult reputation, gaining the attraction of songwriters like Hutch Harris of The Thermals, who compares the unique creative style and mood of the band to the likes of Jawbreaker and The Replacements. And he is not the first to summarise their similarities.
It’s true that their aggressive pop-punk power anthems, and raspy lyricism, tread familiar ground to their influential predecessors, Schwarzenbach and Westerberg. There is also something reminiscent here, of the frustrated teen rebelliousness that Milo Aukerman perfected in Descendents, in their 1982 debut album ‘Milo Goes To College’. For example, ‘Parents’ and ‘I Don’t Want to Grow Up’ (from their second album) are not dissimilar to Alex’s ‘Young and Alive.’ Beach Slang maintains the punk rock ethos, where they try frustratingly to separate themselves from the universally accepted notion that people should inevitably grow up as responsible adults. It’s an awareness Alex does not shy away from but rather celebrates.
‘Noisy Heaven’, is another powerful lamentation of what punk rock is and should be as Alex laments “The night is alive, it’s loud and I’m drunk.” While they broaden their scope to a wider audience, Beach Slang simultaneously hones in on and identifies those who relate to life as intoxicated, heartbroken twenty-something outcasts who vaguely yet proudly identify themselves as “orgcore” kids. And this stylistic approach colours the pop-punk sensibilities that Beach Slang shapes themselves around, or more accurately, embed themselves into.
However, there’s something interesting in Beach Slang’s indulgence in shoegazey atmospherics and screeching guitar riffs, traits that are constitutive to the album’s overall rough and sandy texture- which in itself engages well with Beach Slang’s nostalgic roots. ‘We are Young and Alive’ is the album’s perhaps most effective in echoing this band’s thematic lifestyle. To elaborate, Alex critically analyses and envisions the Self (and its place in punk rock) in relation to the fast-paced diversity of the mainstream world through this statement he screams as an anthem–the album’s defining anthem.
Beach Slang’s active engagement with the themes they address are packed tightly inside this anthem. And this is what makes the album fresh. It’s a reminder that, to be punk, to be young, even if you don’t have many friends and you’re alone, Beach Slang and the somewhat “indie” world it represents is for those kids too. Beach Slang relates to the socially deprived and the culturally marginalised. Punk is for everyone. As a result ‘TTWDTFPWFLU’ is a solid, wonderfully relatable piece.
So many other bands have tried to imitate an established cultural sound, but here, Alex’s strongest point is his shout out to every aspect of punk culture. , something that we can also all love and scream like hell to.
The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel like Us is out now via Polyvinyl