Punk’s obsession with integrity is an oft-wheeled out punchline, but it’s one that latches itself onto Beach Slang’s debut album like a leech. Shooting to scene success off the back of a pair of EPs, the Philadelphia quartet’s appeal is built on an earnestness and an honesty that leaks from every sweat-channelling pore of ‘The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us’.
It’s a different type of earnest to that which plagues the younger members of the scene and their sulking odes to ex-girlfriends. Sappiness rears its head on by-numbers acoustic number ‘Too Late To Die Young’, but elsewhere it’s a Springsteen-indebted snarl that forms frontman James Alex’s calling card. Taking a leaf from the dearly-departed Gaslight Anthem’s book of tricks, ‘The Things We Do…’ is a full-throttle slice of sweaty, Americana-infused punk-rock; all clenched fists and gritted teeth. “I’m a hard luck kid, so why even try? I’m a nowhere bum, I’m dumb, I don’t mind,” screams the chorus to ‘Hard Luck Kid’, and it’s these sentiments that are sure to endear Beach Slang to a die-hard fanbase in waiting.
There are points where the rallying cries for the disaffected err a little too close to pantomime, so desperate are the band to inspire inverted-commas ‘hope’ in their throng, but when it hits, it does so with a force that’s tear-jerking. ‘Ride The Wild Haze’ is a barrelling, avalanche of emotions and three-chord melodies; likewise the stop-start ‘Young & Alive’ and its impassioned demands to “go bang the drums and amplifiers” as means of escape.
Destined to form the faded tattoos of the next generation of punk-rock escapees, Beach Slang’s sentiments are a breath of fresh air in a genre increasingly plagued by doe-eyed boy-bands in leather jackets and Primark Nirvana tees. That ever-present ‘integrity’ question doesn’t look set to disappear from the scene any time soon, but Beach Slang can rest assured they’re pushing things in the right direction, and at a breath-taking pace.