Album Review: Alex G—“Beach Music”

By Jessa Evenden

Alex G will wreck you in the worst possible way – quietly, without warning, and so gently you will hardly notice how badly it hurts. The good news is that once he’s obliterated you by echoing back every hard-to-place and half-baked sentiment you’ve never been able to fully form, you will feel, if you’re lucky, slightly less alone. Alex G’s music has always felt almost uncomfortably relatable, and it maybe because he records it in his bedroom. The unpolished, rough finish to his tunes allows you the luxury of listening in your unmade bed halfway through a 7/11 Super Big Gulp without feeling like you’re doing his art a disservice.

Album art for Beach Music

Album art for Beach Music

Beach Music feels just as hauntingly close to your heart as all of Alex G’s previous lo-fi Bandcamp releases, however, it is slightly more cohesive. Written and recorded over a period of months as Alex adjusted to life as a touring musician, the backbone of Beach Music is one centred around a period of transition and adjustment in a young person’s life – if his music were literature, this album would be the coming-of-age novella you actually wanted to read. This album draws form a variety of inspirations, “from noise music to piano-based laments to Southern rock to the rhythmic focus of techno,” creating a diverse album that somehow forms together to become a cohesive piece full of small, delicate nuances that take a few listens to fully appreciate.

His songs grow. At first listen, they seem small and sweet at his lyrics only take shape when you hear them for a third or fourth time. Lines that seem gentle and soothing at first become sharp and pointed, a powerful transformation that makes the album a double-edged sword. Phrases like “don’t make me hurt you / I’m watching you from here,” from the song “Salt” are poignant in their frankness.

As per usual, Alex G explores the complexities of human relationships in the simplest way possible. Maybe it’s the hollow vagueness of his lyrics that seem to hit the hardest – sometimes there are too many question marks to slice and dice the humanity and vulnerability of being in love into clean and conscious notions. Lyrics like “brite boy I can help you if you let me take your hand / bring you right to promised land” make it all too easy to relate – who hasn’t fallen prey to that grandiose optimism? – the very notion of love being a powerful tool of healing is a common one.

Alex G writes with a youthful honesty. My personal favourite tracks include “Ready”, where the lyrics “she came right through me” loop, nearly taking on a new meaning each time you hear him repeat them, as well as “Bug”, one of the album’s lead singles. The album doesn’t stray far form Alex G’s roots, deeply planted in the bedroom pop universe, it simple improves upon an algorithm for success that wasn’t broke in the first place.

At it’s heart, Beach Music sounds exactly like what it is. With no smoke and mirrors, a 22-year-old scrapes out songs in his bedroom that tell stories of growing up, navigating romance and friendship, and digesting his own existence. And in doing what he’s always done, Alex G makes a record that encompasses exactly what it is to be young and heartfelt. (Domino)

Listen: “Bug”

One Response to “Album Review: Alex G—“Beach Music””
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  1. […] the studio versions. Playing a decently long set that mixed earlier DIY releases with 2015’s Beach Music (he closed with BM single “Brite Boy”), this was the first time I’ve seen Alex G. play […]

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