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CD of The Week

Week of 1/13/20

    Beach Slang - The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City (Bridge 9)

    It's been nearly four years since the last fully plugged in and original Beach Slang album. To start off the new year and the new decade, James Alex has put together an album that is both a return to form and a step forward. With The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City, it is a record that is at times sincere and cheesy, but also silly and emotional. That right there pretty much sums up the band's apparent mission statement in its music. Beach Slang is here to punch you in the heart whether you're ready or not.

    The album's lead single "Bam Rang Rang" starts off as a rollicking punk rock song that echoes "Atom Bomb" from 2016's A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings. But midway through the song turns into a pseudo-'70s rock anthem, complete with a stadium-sized guitar riff that would make members of Deep Purple jealous. The catchy "Tommy in the 80s" comes next and, as one should come to expect from the band, is a total love letter to The Replacements, even going so far as to recruit Tommy Stinson to play on the track. Probably the album's cheesiest number comes in the form of "Stiff", a song that celebrates the sort of double entendre songwriting found frequently in the catalogs of groups like KISS and AC/DC. It's this mélange of rock n roll influences (along with a markedly polished sound courtesy of engineer Brad Wood) that makes Deadbeat such an interesting listen. 

    We also get to hear the quieter side of Beach Slang in two back-to-back songs that echo the arrangements found on last year's Quiet Slang release. "Nobody Say Nothing" and "Nowhere Bus" brings it down with a lush backing of strings that calm things down right before the amps are turned back up to 11. 

    Despite all the ups and downs the band has experienced in their relatively short existence, Beach Slang proves with The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City that there is still gas left in the tank. They proudly wear their hearts on their sleeves, saying what they mean and meaning what they say. It's an admirable mindset that, for better or worse, continues to produce honest music for those willing to listen.

    Beach Slang returns home to Philadelphia to play The Foundry at The Fillmore on April 15th.

    Review by Keith Obaza

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