Beach Slang: The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City (Polyvinyl) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, September 26th, 2020  

Beach Slang

The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City


Jan 15, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

James Alex' ongoing, fireworks-beautiful, heartfelt and heart-worn tribute to Rock 'n' Roll & The Spirit of The Replacements (TM) reaches its potential peak here on his fourth full length (taking into account 2018's sometimes transcendent Quiet Slang record). The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City is a rock 'n' roll album that brings you barroom blues with a stoic smile; a reckless attitude with a retro vibe that avoids silliness, so earnest and true is Alex in his delivery.

Yes, that's certainly the riff from The 'Mats "Alex Chilton" opening up "Tommy in the 80s" which features, you guessed it, that band's ex-bassist Tommy Stinsonbut, for some reason, instead of this being a cloying meta-move it feels more like a love letter in which the subject gets to take part; it's kinda wonderful.

There are some neat leftover feels from the Quiet Slang venturestrings gently opening proceedings before the pounding party-punk of instrumental "All the Kids In LA," which flows into the twelve-bar of "Let It Ride" with lines like "Rock 'n' roll's my favorite sin/Man, I don't know if I'm good at it/But I'm too in love or dumb to quit" that, while they may deal in cliché, act as a tight hug for those who share his feelings.

"Nobody Say Nothing" is a guitar and strings led ballad which mirrors the sound of "Here Comes a Regular" neatly and offers a moving, tough lyric about parental abandonment that really stings with lines like "Your blood is filthy/And stuck inside my skin/It won't kill me/But sometimes I wish it could."

While "Bam Rang Rang" may have disappointed a little as a lead single, the straight up bubblegum raucousness of "Born to Raise Hell" more than makes up for it. It's an apocalyptic surge that contrasts with maudlin closer "Bar No One," a simple, sad song that sees Alex request that "I wanna look pretty laying in my grave" before trailing out into a gorgeous, warped sonic landscape to close the record.

Alex's concerns seem to be shifting somewhatmortality and parenthood coming to the fore herebut he's still the best guy to bring to the party and Beach Slangin the absence of his beloved Replacementsare certainly still the best rock n' roll band around. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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