Let’s address the flannel-wearing elephant in the room: yes, Beach Slang are strongly influenced by the Replacements. But if loving catchy songs with heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics is a crime, then Beach Slang and I hang side by side at the ‘Mats fan club down the line.
Pop culture has a lot to say about how one’s twenties are supposed to unfold, much of it unrealistic and unattainable. It’s easy to feel you’re losing ground when your social media is filled with images of people enjoying success and hitting milestones sooner than you. The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us is not geared for those people. It’s for the people who have spent their youth feeling aimless, struggling to find purpose. Which is why escapism is at the center of this album. Over the course of ten songs, James Alex chronicles the highs and lows of the stage between childhood and adulthood in a rasp reminiscent of Blake Schwarzenbach.
Relief comes from several sources: chemicals, alcohol and the power of music, things one looks to for comfort when the rest of ones life isn’t so rosy. It’s foolish to take every lyric as autobiographical. Based on interviews over the past year, James Alex seems to be in a good place as far as his personal life goes. Bad times may pass, but they aren’t forgotten and Alex really taps into that. If the narrator of these songs engages in self-destructive behavior, it because of a deep pain. Along with musical similarities, it’s this core of hurt that recalls Jawbreaker.
Some folks avoid addressing these ugly feelings, a mistake to be sure. Sometimes things can feel really awful even if you’re doing everything in your power to avoid that. It’s healthy to recognize these feelings for what they are and to work through them as best as you can.
That’s not to say The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us is a somber affair, the crunchy and hooky guitars give this album some real teeth. It’s as vital and as full of life as the characters in the songs. The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us is an album that scratches the itch of those with an enduring love of pop-punk, fans of great songwriting, and people who love the Replacements. Some of the songs do blend together a bit, but repeated listens, preferably loud and accompanied by one’s preferred adult beverage, should remedy that situation.