Beach Slang: The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City

Sara Barry on January 23, 2020
Beach Slang: The Deadbeat Bang  of Heartbreak City

Beach Slang have only been around six or so years, but their prolific output would have you fooled into thinking that they’d been around for far longer. For their signature abrasiveness, the band has garnered constant comparisons to punk-rock veterans like The Replacements, so it’s no shock that this new LP features Tommy Stinson on bass. (Frontman James Alex has also released music under the name Quiet Slang, which shows off his contemplative and, well, quieter side.) On the whole, Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City combines biting, fuzzy guitar work with anthemic vocals, along with some lush string and horn arrangements sprinkled perfectly throughout. The opener, “All The Kids in LA,” begins as a meditative orchestral piece but breaks out into a more aggressive rock anthem. “Tommy in the 80s,” while an obvious nod to Stinson, sounds akin to something Springsteen or Bon Jovi would have released in the Regan era; with its sing-along vocals and call-and-response horn section, it’s one of the songs that really stands out. Another noteworthy moment is the transition from “Nobody Say Nothing” into “Nowhere Bus,” an equally delicate, string-adorned acoustic ballad. While most of the songs are under three minutes, the album’s closer, “Bar No One,” comes in at almost seven minutes. It may be the LP’s most somber one, too, with a haunting piano riff complementing lyrics about death. While some fans may wish every track on this new album recalled Beach Slang’s rowdier earlier work, this album impressively melds the aggressive and the pensive.