After the tumultuous break-up in the support of 2016’s ‘A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings’ to the acoustic moniker of Quiet Slang, punk rock quartet Beach Slang have had an uneven few years to say the least.
Returning to their original moniker, and also as a full band once again, Beach Slang step forward with their fourth full-length effort, ‘The Deadbeat Bang Of Heartbreak City’.
After the garage punk burst of ‘All The Kids In LA’, ‘Let It Ride’ kicks the record off with James Alex‘s gruff drawl. Backed up by snappy melodies and chunky chords, the track creates a bouncing and defiant blast of punk rock. Sounding more confident than previous records, Beach Slang have a newfound maturity that underpins their swaggering punk, something that’s clearly evidenced in the album’s lead single, ‘Bam Rang Rang’.
Filled with squealing lead guitars and snappy vocals, the track cuts through choppy chords, rockabilly style rhythms and accented breaks. Using the coda to tie in the record’s title, the song takes a left turn with its bridge, as guitarists Alex and Aurore Ounjian utilise both thick and stomping chords to drive the track home.
Yet again expanding on their sound, ‘Tommy In The 80s’ creates a pastiche of ‘Jessie’s Girl’ (by Rick Springfield); complete with call-and-response horns, to buoyant results. Whilst the track may not work in theory, the charm of the quartet and the economic structure makes the track work.
Whilst James‘ side-project Quiet Slang may have initially been an intermittent departure from the group’s sound, its influence seeps through the acoustic and string laden ‘Nobody Say Nothing’. Relying on the restrained whisper of James and his blunt lyrics, the track highlights the intimacy behind the band’s distorted and swaggering style. Surprisingly, ‘Nowhere Bus’ reprises the coda of its predecessor, but only armed with a throwaway line to support it, and ultimately allows the track to fall short.
Picking things up with the grooving ‘Stiff’, James and Ounjian channel blues turnarounds to create a slinking and sleazy track. Backed up by Gee Lima‘s pounding drum beats, the track ebbs and flows with a tried and tested technique, and as the record progresses to its close, more classic rock influences come into play, from the descending riffs of ‘Born To Raise To Hell’ to the balladry of ‘Bar No One’.
Whilst ‘The Deadbeat Bang Of Heartbreak City’ starts with a burst of energy and stand out tracks, sadly the record is front-loaded. Admittedly there are signs of promise towards its end, but the execution is too uneven to bring it back.