Beach Slang – Broken Thrills (EPs 1 and 2) review

Beach Slang BSM

We first came across Beach Slang when we heard they were touring across the States with Cursive. Now, any band playing with Tim Kasher and co has to be worth checking out – and we were even more excited to learn that the Philadelphia three-piece will be releasing their first two 7” singles on one EP called ‘Broken Thrills’ via the ever-reliable Big Scary Monsters.

Springsteen goes punk-rock in the riff-laden opener ‘Filthy Luck’. With James Alex’s rasping vocals delivering lines like ‘kids like us’ and ‘the night’s still young’, there’s a youthful vitality running through, which is surprisingly offset by observations that ‘this guitar wants to die’. ‘Kids’ has a big pop sound that falls somewhere between Teenage Fanclub, Sonic Youth and Sleater-Kinney while the earnest heart-on-the-sleeves topics of conversation range from the effects of wearing fake leather to more weary personal regrets: ‘I thought all about how we stumbled around’ being delivered in a way that would make Craig Finn from the Hold Steady proud.

Despite its Ramones-esque title, ‘Punk or Lust’ has more of a punky aesthetic in line with Pup or the Smith Street Band. The jilting, stuttered delivery of the title makes it a powerful song you won’t be able to resist popping your head along to, while ‘All Fuzzed Out’ has everything you’d want from a rock hit – spiky riffs; a startling breakdown; and a healthy dose of self-loathing: ‘Everything breaks, what happens to us?’ There’s a grungey Reading Festival vibe screaming out of the speakers when you listen to ‘Dirty Cigarettes’ – and that’s not a bad thing.

‘American Girls and French Kisses’ sounds every bit like a Gaslight Anthem song title, but does retain the DIY and can-do attitude of Beach Slang’s BSM label mates Gnarwolves. Aiming for arenas, it’s another infectiously catchy song that has a nice line in self-depreciation: ‘It’s Friday night and I’m in the basement’. The final song on the record ‘We Are Nothing’ is more acoustic based and is surely destined to provoke rousing sing-alongs at every Beach Slang show for years to come – especially with its repeated mantra of: ‘We are nothing like them’.

James sings: ‘All I want are records on my stereo’ over the course of the two EPs. It would be good to heed his advice and add Beach Slang to your collection…

Beach Slang‘s ‘Broken Thrills’ is available from BSM.

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