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Album Review

Alex G – Beach Music

Alex G – Beach Music

A stoned bedroom demo vibe still resonates throughout ‘Beach Music’, making it a delicately dreamy listen.

Label: Domino
Released: 9th October 2015

Rating: ★★★

Alex Giannascoli has been extended an opportunity somewhat rare for singer-songwriters, in transcending a cluster of scenes with his craft. Although not strictly punkish or raucous in any way (besides his fabled self-destructive live shows), the 23-year-old Philadelphian has landed himself on tours with the likes of Speedy Ortiz and Title Fight, striking a resounding chord through the core of the emo community.

It’s probably something to do with the narrative framework which has remained constant in Alex G’s work: suburban ennui and the daunting feat of adapting to change, the latter of which more present than ever on ‘Beach Music’, his seventh LP in a mere five years.

The album comes at a time of extreme transition for Giannascoli: once a scrawny teenager taking the DIY route up to and including the release of his work, he’s now approaching the game with record label backing and production far beyond the comfort of his bedroom. The extent to which the professional touch is needed on music of such rough edges is debateable to no end, but at least the throwbacks to the hazier days of the 90s still loom over Giannascoli’s burned-out slacker-pop.

Standout tracks ‘Bug’ and ‘Kicker’ resemble some sort of heavenly jam between Mac DeMarco and Mike Kinsella, approached with a sultry drawl. ‘Salt’ sets an unsettling tone with new romantic guitars over mellow electronic beats, but ‘Brite Boy’ and ‘Station’ luckily salvage a geeky lo-fi charm not dissimilar from Michael Cera’s venture into music last year.

There may be a little too much studio sheen for comfort in places, but do not let the outsourced production and newfound finesse dwindle your expectations: a stoned bedroom demo vibe still resonates throughout ‘Beach Music’, making it a delicately dreamy listen. Danny Randon