Beach Slang’s latest album A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings is the perfect soundtrack for adolescent rebellion. The Philadelphia trio’s update on punk rock is angsty, loud, and uplifting in a burnout kind of way. You would never guess that the youthful voice behind the noise is 42-year-old James Alex.
After two extremely promising EPs and their debut album The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us, Beach Slang had presented an obvious goal: to give life to modern punk juveniles in the same way the Replacements did for them. As their album titles suggest, these guys are reaching out to the kids who don’t fit in, the kids who need the counter culture outlet that only punk rock can provide.
A Loud Bash doesn’t deviate much from the band’s old formula: gruff, confident vocals, progressive, fuzzed out power chords and the frantic smashing of drums. The energy of Beach Slang’s commotion is enough to make even the most awkward of teenagers shed their insecurities and join the weirdos. A Loud Bash isn’t an ambitious album musically, generally relying on a poppy, anthemic style of punk that fits in mosh pits and high school parties alike.
Alex claims that instead of focusing on stories from his own golden years, A Loud Bash recounts the stories of fans. These tales don’t differ much from Alex’s on previous recordings: disillusioned hijinks and self discovery show us that it’s okay to be you and to have fun while you still can. The similarities speak to the unchanging emotions of alternative kids from Alex’s time up until now. His message is timeless.
On “Future Mixtape for the Art Kids” Alex repeats “I hope I never die.” He’s not leaving behind the excitement of his teenage years. This man is trying to prove that punks don’t have to hope they die before they get old.
The brevity of A Loud Bash packs a powerful punch. Only two of the songs pass the two minute mark and each one is a quick burst of rowdy noise making that leaves your ears ringing as the next one winds up. There’s nothing like a quickie album to empower the kids. Short attention spans can grab onto these micro songs. You can sing along even if you’ve only heard the album once. Beach Slang takes the anger out of punk. Alex may have spent his teen years relenting against the man and listening to Big Star in a grimy pub, but he’s past all that now. Youth is a time to be wild and individual and alive, and Alex wants to share that with everyone who still has the chance to live it.