Album Review: Beach Slang – Broken Thrills

For those not already familiar with them Beach Slang are a trio from Philadelphia who with new offering ‘Broken Thrills’, have actualluy simply combined their fantastic two previous EPs into one new full length. So what’s not to love? Fronted by punk stalwart James Snyder, they sound like a mix between the Replacements and Jawbreaker but with an almost Brian Fallon style knack for intricate story telling lyrics.

Although ‘Broken Thrills’ consists of two separate EPs recorded months apart, it still flows remarkably well. Full of loud guitars and no nonsense songwriting, Snyder and co wear their punk credentials for everyone to see.‘Filthy Luck’ is the perfect opener, it grabs your attention and refuses to let go. Less than 30 seconds into the record we get the first taste of Synder’s self-depreciating lyrical style as he croons “I’m a slave to always ***ing up,”. The song stays on 11 pretty much from the word go, one small section of respite is quickly followed by another explosion of guitar and thumping bass lines.

It is clear that Beach Slang have found their own sound, and one that works extremely well, even if sometimes it lacks variation. On second track ‘Kids’ it is Snyder’s lyrics that take centre stage again. Another 2 and a half minutes of introspective and personal lyrics that still remain relatable and interesting throughout.‘Get Lost’ could easily be off of ‘The ’59 Sound’ with its repetitive drums and huge palm muted punk riffs. It is clear that Synder and the rest of the band have taken inspiration from their 20 years of experience to create a punk record with some real substance.

‘All Fuzzed Out’ is the first track from the 2nd EP and it picks up right where they left off. Full of hooks and 90s style fuzz but still with the punk sensibilities that Snyder holds so dear. The mix of harsh, punk guitars and his understated vocal hooks gives Beach Slang their own slant of punk that should get anyone excited. Throughout this whole album there is a naive all encompassing Americana feel. The kind of pure love that Springsteen used to sing about, the heart on your sleeve honesty that comes with a true wordsmith.

‘Dirty Cigarettes’ is perhaps the most laid back of what is an extremely in your face release. The guitars aren’t as brash as earlier in the record, and it is a great change of gear that really makes this feel more like a full length than two EPS lazily sandwiched together. ‘Broken Thrills’ has the ebb and flow that any good record needs. ‘We Are Nothing’ throws another curveball, an almost Dave Hause sounding acoustic number, that still packs as much of a punch as any of the full band tracks.

‘Broken Thrills’ could have easily felt half cooked, like a rushed release. Remarkably it could instead be a contender for one of the best albums of the year. You can truly feel the natural growth of the band from beginning to end. Behind the veracious punk exterior there are carefully crafted songs that cross genres and ideas seamlessly. This is still punk, but with a maturity and substance that some modern bands are lacking. Intellectuals could spend months dissecting the host of amazing lyrics on ‘Broken Thrills’, but for most it will simply be the soundtrack to this summer.

4/5

’Broken Thrills’ by Beach Slang is out on now on Big Scary Monsters.

Beach Slang links: Facebook|Twitter

Words by Andy McGonigle(@andyjmcg87)

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