I need a new Beach Slang record like I need coffee – which is to say, every morning, non-stop, refilling my cup until it’s suddenly night and I can’t sleep.
I’ve been in love with Beach Slang since I heard their first two EPs. I listen to “All Fuzzed Out” with my windows wide open, punching the air and the steering wheel, pretending I’m in a movie (don’t we all?). But would you believe I hadn’t seen them live until the very last show at Asbury Lanes? Every chance I had to see them – and I usually had a ticket – something came up. But fate is sometimes good to us in ways we don’t understand, and seeing Beach Slang for the first time at my favorite venue of all time, as it was closing in it’s current form, was probably life’s random, perfect magic gifting me.
So, yeah, Beach Slang is not only perfect recorded, but even better live. But let’s get back to this album, The Things We Do To Find People Like Us, which has been at the fore-front of my wishlist since I saw them. It’s no secret from past reviews, but I have never been a huge punk – or at least, in the traditional sense. I have punk attitudes but I probably don’t listen to the “right” music.
Beach Slang is the kind of punk I love – the kind where being emotionally charged, passionate, and sentimental is the most non-conformist thing possible. This openness is a door to realizing that you don’t have to be tough or angry to scream out loud. You just need to be a breathing, living, wanting, person. The love this band, and lead singer James Snyder, has for the music and the words they sing, is so pronounced that I get emotional for them! That’s how infectious they are. And I think at the core of Beach Slang is this idea of romance, and how music is romantic to us because it makes us fall in love with ideas and feelings and nostalgia for memories we haven’t even had. A never-ending romance, where we fall endlessly and with happiness.
The Things We Do To Find People Like Us is full of this romance – from the title of the album to the songs that are 2-3 minute bursts of wanting – wanting that scene, that feeling, that euphoric night. Tracks like the immediately catchy, sing along inducing “Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas” are like soundtracks to a teenage rom-com, a cinematic scene where we are gunning for something with the velocity of our souls. “Too Late To Die Young” is a surprisingly slowed down, but still raw and charged, track, backed by the subtle sound of a faraway cello that accompanies the mournful yet hopeful “I swear right now/ I’m alright.”
Each song has that signature Beach Slang line – you know, the ones best known for their singularly simple but bitingly profound points, the ones that get an entire crowd screaming together. “Young & Alive” is a stand-out singalong, with the repeated phrase “We are young and alive!” It may sound simple to you, but the song makes you wait for it, and by then, you are definitely itching to scream along. The wonderful pop-infused “Ride The Wild Haze” ends with the repeated “Get high enough to feel alive!” It keeps going. The chorus to “Hard Luck Kid.” Pretty much all the lines to “I Break Guitars.” “Porno Love” is a surprisingly gorgeous track, a definite shoegaze-inspired dreamland with it’s repeated “It’s heaven” chorus.
The Things We Do To Find People Like Us closes out with “Dirty Lights,” a track with such a beautifully sense of life or death – with lyrics like “The dirtiest lights/ shine the most.” This song, this album, get it. The urgency of music, the importance of having that right song play as you run, drive, live. Beach Slang not only understands these things, but live and die by this concept. As long as Beach Slang is making music, I will have the perfect soundtrack to a life that never gets old.