The full-length debut of Philadelphia's Beach Slang, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us, while replete with driving drums and guitars, has a comfortable, somewhat nostalgic demeanor heavily influenced by the sound and songwriting of Paul Westerberg, along with ghosts of U.K. post-punk. As indicated by its title, it's a contemplative work, with angst-ridden lyrics addressing seemingly youthful themes despite the band's songwriter, leader James Alex, being a veteran of bands since the '90s. "Young & Alive," for instance, offers "Go truth or dare like brats tonight," while "Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas" admits "I'm always that kid always out of place/I try to get found, but I've never known how." If at all awkward for that reason, the sincerely delivered words go down like peanut butter with the steady jelly of tight, fuzzy, pop-punky guitars, bass, and drums. The only true ballad on the album, "Too Late to Die Young," still featuring Alex's gruff, shouty diction, has acoustic guitar, cello, and piano as a mid-album breather. It leads straight into the pounding intro of "I Break Guitars" ("I can't think with all this noise"). A few of the songs sound a lot like one another, and, like any rock & roll, The Things We Do can come off as risible to the rational heart and sensible head, but for the uncertain and, to refer to the Replacements, unsatisfied, the album is potentially relatable and potently cathartic. "The songs I make, I barely rehearse them/They're hardly mistakes/They're meant to be honest."
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson