Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us
October 30 2015 (Big Scary Monsters)
Words: Alison Mack
Their double whammy of EPs last year really made us sit up and take notice of Philly punk-rockers Beach Slang, and this first, barely half-an-hour in length, album is full of big-spirited exuberance and energy, that offers proof they have plenty of material at their disposal as good as they have shown in shorter doses.
From the opening of 'Throwaways' ("No, the streets don't feel like us/ they're not hungry or wild enough/ it's a dead end town for trash like us") where we are first introduced to the rasped vocal of James Alex, to Replacements-influenced closer 'Dirty Lights', 'The Things We Do...' is a record that is full fit to bursting with the kind keen spirited punk that channels hard emotion, and three-chord melodies with more spit than polish maybe, but more fire than you're going to find outside of a furnace.
The album’s first half demarcation line is marked by the reflective 'Too Late To Die Young', the distortion that has pervaded so far being exchanged for a ballad of acoustic guitar, cello and piano. “It’s loud and wild/but I swear it feels soft,” sings Alex, who leads the four-piece in a manner befitting his years of experience with roots that filter back to the early 90s with pop-punk band Weston; belting out harsh lines like “a dead end town for trash like us”, and on 'Bad Art and Weirdo Ideas', the album's first single, “too fucked up to love/ Too soft to hate”.
'Young & Alive' is big and bruising, trading its mantra chorus, “We are young and alive", with a building intensity and riffs so deep that it feels practically life-giving. 'Ride The Wild Haze', which Snyder has described as "life- affirming", like, "the Hunter S. Thompson thing about skidding into your grave, or Bukowski being, 'we’re here to make this tremble.' It is kind of that thing. Do it, and do it all the way. It is a nod to that kind of spirit", tumbles an avalanche of emotions, leaving just emotional 'Porno Love' to give anything less full-on.
While Alex, now in his forties, may be pushing a generation ahead of many of his young contemporaries, there is no arguing his being very much still a league ahead of the very same in delivering a cathartic, vital and aurally thrashing work. Young and alive, indeed.