Everything Matters But No One Is Listening is the first full-length release by Quiet Slang, the acoustic counterpart to the James Alex-led Beach Slang. He introduced the project on the 2017 EP We Were Babies & We Were Dirtbags, which consisted of two reworked Beach Slang songs and covers of the Replacements and Big Star. Everything Matters But No One Is Listening concentrates on Beach Slang, offering ten previously released songs culled from all four of their prior releases (two 2014 EPs and their first two albums). Stripped of the band's alternately jangly, punky, and grungy guitars and drums, these versions make due with voice, piano, and strings. Alex is joined regularly on the album by a group of backing vocalists that includes New Jersey rock group the Warhawks. Throughout, the bandleader's angsty vocals and lyrics are exposed to a degree that trades Beach Slang's catharsis for intimacy. One of the more ambitious makeovers is opening track "Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas," from the band's debut LP. In addition to piano, cello, and the additional singers, it makes use of glitchy samples that are sped up, reversed, or both, contrasting the regular attack and sustain of the other instruments. Second track "Noisy Heaven" settles into the album's more prevalent, straightforward arrangements, and Everything Matters ends with "Warpaint," which also closes 2016's A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings. Here, the spare accompaniment puts special emphasis on the final lyrics "Don't be afraid to want to be alive," before the song is extended with a mirrored segment played in reverse. While the acoustic treatment is more effective on some tracks than others (certain Alex lyrics and melodies demand noise, including "Filthy Luck"), the naked distress of these versions often delivers its own power.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson