“Re-record, not fade away; Re-record, not fade away; Re-record, not fade away” – the catchphrase from an old 80s television commercial where a skeleton is peddling the wonders of re-recordable VHS tapes.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings us to Beach Slang’s latest fistful of big dreams, ‘A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings’. In many ways it feels like a re-recording of ‘The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us’, which in turn felt like a re-recording of ‘Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street’ and ‘Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?’.
But here’s the thing; it’s a sound that never gets tired. James Alex could sing about his battered heart in a million different ways and he will always, without fail, hit the mark. Affirmative, positive and covered in the dirt and dust that comes with an old soul, he’s the relatable and honest, albeit ultimately optimistic, voice that makes Beach Slang so engaging.
‘A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings’ is no different. Alex and Co know what it’s like to be the misfit or outcast and can warm you with the solace that you’re not alone. And, despite the over-the-top sentiments and occasionally corny lyrics, it’s this sense of belonging that comes through strongest, especially on the powerful closing track ‘Warpaint’. Back on 2014’s ‘American Girls and French Kisses’ Alex proclaimed that “I hope when I die, I feel this alive.” Here, on ‘Warpaint’, the sentiment is the same. “Don’t be afraid to be alive,” Alex pleads, like it’s some sort of mission statement that must be strictly adhered to.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings us back to the living skeleton in the old Scotch tape commercial. “Every recording as good as the first” the advert concludes, pushing the hard sell should you ever want to tape every episode of your favourite soap. Beach Slang continue to burn bright, and every record they make is an ever-so-slightly better re-recording of the last. ‘A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings’ is a little more world-weary – no doubt coloured by a solid 12 months on the road and a rather turbulent 2016 – yet possesses a little more heart and a little more soul than its predecessors. The result is Beach Slang’s punchy tales and rock’n’roll dreams are ever-so-slightly more relatable.
’A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings’ by Beach Slang is released on September 23rd on Big Scary Monsters.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)