Beach Slang's sophomore album opens with the words "Play it loud, play it fast," followed later in the verse by "Play me something that might save my life." That encapsulates the spirit of A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings, an aptly titled 30-minute blast of discontent and consolation. The record follows the band's similarly angst-ridden debut by less than year, and is likely to sweep up fans of that album with a consistent sound and intensity. Beach Slang don't finesse their mission here any more than they did the title, calling out to the alienated before one can tap play with a track one called "Future Mixtape for the Art Kids." Tempos are brisk and guitars are churning on that song and throughout the set, which still evokes main musical inspiration the Replacements, at least much of the time. One such moment is "Spin the Dial," which quotes a riff from "Alex Chilton," though songs like "Punks in a Disco Bar" and "Wasted Daze of Youth" also carry Westerberg-like hooks. Elsewhere, "Atom Bomb" hits harder than anything on their debut, thrashing through two minutes of identifying with a ticking bomb. A lyrically heavier song is "Warpaint," which addresses suicidal tendencies with lyrics like "Don't be afraid to want to be alive." Survival is a recurring theme, and raspy, earnest vocals encourage rather than dwell. Despite signposts indicating otherwise, A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings isn't just for the adolescent set. After all, most of the band's musical inspiration comes from '80s and '90s alt-rock, and lead singer and songwriter James Alex is, at the time of the album, in his early forties. While some of the lyrics may be a little too on the nose for some, regardless of age ("This crummy town is filled with wild boredom"), there is no age limit on angst or catharsis.
A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings
A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings Review
by Marcy Donelson