Beach Slang – “Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street” Review
Posted: by Morgan
The punk rock genre has always been a community based on and fueled by turmoil. We take issue with political injustices, bad relationships, and sometimes each other. With all the recent debate concerning a variety of problems including stage diving, the lack of bite in modern punk and the division between genders within the scene, today’s underground music scene appears more disjointed than ever.
Beach Slang’s latest EP, Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street, is a piece of music that serves to remind us of this genre’s solidarity that seems to have gone astray for us today. The lines “It’s Friday night and I’m in the basement/screaming out my lungs with my best friends/I hope when I die I feel this alive” backed by nimble guitar licks epitomize the coherent emo and punk rock culture and why you and I both got involved with this music in the first place. With its gritty, yet fuzzy levels of distortion the song touches on early Get Up Kids with a notable nod to the straight punk rock of The Menzingers. Polishing the song off is this near sultry repetition of the song’s title adds the right amount of flair to set Beach Slang apart from everything else this past year.
Actually starting off the EP is the rhythmically superior “All Fuzzed Out”. With its vivacious bass line, each guitar riff in the song appears more clever and fulfilling. James Alex’s vocals have a slightly passive tone to them, showcasing the fascinating musical decisions that have carved out a very nice niche for Beach Slang’s sound. While it is clearly a song that is meant to be blasted over speakers, no single part overwhelms anything else for an impressive equilibrium.
Next, start off “Dirty Cigarettes,” whose name feels all too appropriate. The emotional tension hidden behind aggressively built up choruses soars to life with the all-too-telling lyric of “I need the struggle to feel alive.” Like its title, each verse has a substantial backbone to it and delves carefully into the tough exterior of the narrator with its layered sound acting as a canvas for the band’s hearty storytelling.
A short and sweet acoustic driven number polishes everything off cleanly. “We Are Nothing” maintains the band’s stylistically gruff vocals, but its partnership with staccato strumming tones down the previously hard-hitting aesthetic. This gentler track speaks to the very mantra of Beach Slang and the Philadelphia scene from which it came—that they work for the success they earn, that there is beauty in being young and acting on that fact, and that there is an innate sense of kinship within punk.
Tiny Engines has once again churned out a spectacular addition to the already impressive year of 2014. It may only be September, but this indie label out of North Carolina, along with Beach Slang, is set to be one of the most impressive organizations of recent memory.