REVIEW: Beach Slang – “American Girls and French Kisses”
by Chad Jewett
Beach Slang’s Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken? arrived as one of the best short releases of 2014 by synthesizing both the way the most revered records of melodic punk’s mid-90s apex sounded, but also in capturing the more intangible way that they felt. It was a record about the old familiar concerns of poetically rugged post-hardcore, but also about that poetic ruggedness itself. “American Girls and French Kisses” retains (from the band’s forthcoming Tiny Engines debut, Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street) some of that echo effect, some of that quality of a wheel inside a wheel, albeit in a song that trades in the scruffy mid-tempos of Who Would Ever for something more fleet and sharp. One murmured pause (scientifically built for the loud crash that is always just about to arrive) is punctuated with: “Screaming out my lungs with best friends”. Elsewhere, another quiet passage intones: “It’s Friday night and I’m in the basement.” Yet Beach Slang avoid the inert reverence of, say, The Gaslight Anthem (though one could be forgiven for expecting that sort of nostalgia from a title like “American Girls and French Kisses”) by sounding more like some impressionist memory of all of this stuff rather than a collection of rote moves and modes. James Snyder’s rasp is Schwarzenbachean, but recall that Jawbreaker were forever soaked in irony. Beach Slang make their return even more deeply committed to earnestness.