Coming from virtually out of nowhere, American punk rock band Beach Slang released their first non-collaborative studio album, The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us, on Oct. 30. Their latest album’s name may be a mouthful to say, but the band certainly wastes no time conveying the usual punk rock message of free-spiritedness and rebellion. Though not without its flaws, The Things We Do is a strong first album by a young and talented punk rock artist.
From the very outset of the album, Beach Slang uses the tried-and-true punk rock formula—an upbeat tempo mixed with angsty, rebellious lyrics that convey the message of “you can’t trust the system,” something often found in the American punk rock scene. In fact, Beach Slang’s newest work shows hints of influence from various better-known bands—the gritty, anti-American themes of Rise Against, the lyrical stylings of My Chemical Romance, and the upbeat musical progression of Fall Out Boy are all apparent throughout nearly every song on the album. Though not inherently harmful to the work itself, this may alienate listeners who do not enjoy the acquired taste that is always required for this type of sound. The first three tracks on The Things We Do (“Throwaways,” “Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas,” and “Noisy Heaven”) appear to be symptoms of this as each of their sounds tend to blend together, creating a somewhat unimpressive, blurred start to the album.
Of course, The Things We Do also contains some standout songs. Of particular note are “Too Late To Die Young,” “Young & Alive,” and the closing song, “Dirty Lights.” All three show the band’s unique stylings rather than outside influences. “Too Late To Die Young” is the fourth track on the album, and its acoustically-based sound helps to break up the monotony of Beach Slang’s slow start. It is also unquestionably the band’s most powerful message. With themes of early death and the apparent absence of meaning in it all, “Too Late To Die Young” is both a beautiful exploration of existence, as well as evidence of Beach Slang’s ability to rise above facile lyric-writing. “Young & Alive,” the seventh track on on the album, perhaps best epitomizes the sounds of Beach Slang—speedy, electric tempos combined with James Alex’s gravely lead vocals. This is, without question, Alex’s standout song—every time he utters the phrase “we are young and alive,” his raspy tone sends chills down the spine.
The guitar, bass, and drum work of (respectively) Ruben Gallego, Ed McNulty, and JP Flexner shine most brightly in the closing song of The Things We Do, “Dirty Lights.” Rather reminiscent of work by Theory of a Deadman, “Dirty Lights” has a retrospective, romantic feel to it. It’s nostalgia come alive.
Beach Slang has the potential to become a famous, household-name group, but if The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us is any indication, two major problems must be shored up first. Their sound must be diversified. As it currently stands, many tracks blend together rather than stand out as an individual work. Secondly, their message must be reworked. The spirit of rebellion is an acceptable theme for a band to embrace, but when in competition with artists such as Rise Against or My Chemical Romance, it begins to feel rather overdone. “Too Late To Die Young” is a step in the right direction, but it must be capitalized on repeatedly before Beach Slang will enter the limelight. If Beach Slang can continue to grow in what they do well and simultaneously solve these issues by the time that their second album rolls out to fans, we may potentially see a brand new name in punk rock rise to the forefront of the music industry
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