BEST OF 2016

MAGNET’s #9 Album Of 2016: Beach Slang’s “A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings”


“Play it loud/Play it fast/Play me something that will always last,” growls lead singer James Alex on “Future Mixtape For The Art Kids,” the first track on Beach Slang’s A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings. The song lays out the manifesto for his band and the album. It’s been a long time since Alex was a teenager, but he’s able to capture the rush of intoxicating optimism and overwhelming hopelessness that make those years of young adulthood resonate with most of us for the rest of our lives. The band plays the tunes with a blazing energy that makes the often over-the-top angst that fuels them take on a compelling reality. Most are muscular, stripped-down rockers, but even when Alex and the band slow the tempo down on numbers like “Young Hearts” and “Warpaint,” the lyrics bristle with the bewildering confusion of youth. Alex steps out of the shadows near the end of the record to deliver “The Perfect High,” a song that celebrates the fearless exuberance of first love. When he sings, “I’m not dead, and you are why/You’re the perfect high,” it’s a transcendent moment.

—j. poet