“I’m a slave, to always fucking up. It’s not ok, but maybe it’s enough” James Alex whispers more than shouts during the opening line of the bands first 7” recording for “Filthy Luck.” A line that struck a chord in my brain as I’m sure it did to many others.
It’s human nature to fuck up, it’s honest, life is full of little fuck ups, from burning the mornings toast, to misplacing the car keys, the fuck ups mount and when the guitar riff ushers in that line stating that Alex himself is a “slave, to always fucking up” there is an instant affinity with the feeling being conveyed. It’s this characteristic that makes Beach Slang so endearing, as if James Alex was sent to rock and roll to let everyone know that it’s “ok,” it’s ok to be weird, or to be “that kid, always out of place.” Beach Slang have presented something honest and heartfelt, lyrics without ambiguity, when Alex walks out on stage it’s as if he’s opened up his sketch book for everyone to see who he really is and it’s this that causes an immediate trust between fans and band.
This past Saturday I went to Cleveland with some friends to see Beach Slang on what may have been their sixth trip around the country in less than a year’s time. The band shows no sign of slowing down and when I jokingly asked guitarist Ruben Gallego, while he leaned against a cement planter box, if he was “sick of touring,” he responded without a hint of sarcasm “No way.” It’s as if the band knows that what is happening right now is special and it doesn’t want to let go. They will continue to tour through America and then back to Europe for the bulk of the summer with the new album coming out in September. Alex explained in a brief conversation that the new record was done and ready to go to press which will likely keep the band out on the road for the foreseeable future.
This leg found them bringing along the all female act Potty Mouth (named after a Bratmobile album) who have a wonderful mix of Juliana Hatfield 3, Lush and the 90’s riot grrrl sound.
A crowd that could only be described as subdued during the opening local acts began to come alive during the fuzzy hooks of Potty Mouth’s set and when Beach Slang dove into their opening chords, the whole place knew that they were indeed “… allowed to be alive.”
With some Jawbreaker and Replacement covers it’s not hard to see Beach Slang’s influences, but it’s their latest recorded cover of Nirvana’s “About A Girl” that has more of a symbolic statement, purposeful or not. At a time that a generation is looking for a voice amongst the over-produced, over-sexualized and the unrelenting assault of consumer culture, Beach Slang presents a voice of compassion and generosity in a time of over indulgence. I don’t know if Beach Slang were sent to save rock-n-roll but if you get a chance to catch them in your town do so and then tell me there isn’t something special happening with this band.